Stunning opening

JAMESTOWN – Last weekend was the debut for “Winter Night Lights at Audubon,” the Audubon Center & Sanctuary’s newest outdoor attraction, and organizers say it couldn’t have gone better.

“We were thrilled with the response!” said Audubon Senior Naturalist Jeff Tome. “It’s been a huge undertaking to transform our outdoors into a winter fairyland, but the enthusiastic and awestruck responses of our visitors have made it all worthwhile.”

Along a luminary-lit paved trail, volunteers used the latest in interactive LED light technology to assist visitors to bring animals to life, to “see” the insides of a tree across the seasons, and to beat a drum to change the patterns of light shining on the Nature Center building.

“Awesome” and “amazing” were among the responses to the magic created at the overlook of Audubon’s Big Pond, where a light snowfall added to the enchantment as thousands of various colored lights danced among the trees.

Volunteers also tended a fire halfway out for warming up. Hot chocolate, coffee and tea as well as fruit, cookies and other snacks were available inside the Nature Center. Exhibits inside the nature center are open, so visitors can see the live animals, play in the fishing pond, and put on a puppet show on the second floor while they are there.

Two weekends remain for “Winter Night Lights at Audubon”: Fridays and Saturdays, December 13-14 and 20-21. The event opens at 6 p.m., and the last admission is at 8:15.

With about a half-mile walk on a paved and ice-free trail, participants are reminded to dress to be outside with warm winter coats, gloves and boots.

Admission is $10, $8 for Friends of the Nature Center, $6 ages 3-12, and free for ages 2 and under. Reservations are not required.

Winter Night Lights at Audubon was created through Warren, Pa’s Volt Vision, examples of whose work can be seen at www.voltvision.com. Additional sponsors are Everyday’s True Value, Oneida Lumber/Ace Hardware, and Herbs R 4 U 2. A special thank you goes out to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation for their help sponsoring the event.

The Audubon Center & Sanctuary is at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestownand Warren..

For more information, call 569-2345 or visit www.jamestownaudubon.org.