Rotary Winter Wonderland at Marshfield Zoo

Holiday lights
Holiday lights(wsaw)
Published: Nov. 25, 2022 at 9:59 PM CST
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MARSHFIELD, Wis. (WSAW) - The Rotary Winter Wonderland at Marshfield Zoo opened Friday. It was started as a way to bring canned goods and money to local food banks and collects over $100,000 each year.

“We usually bring 50 to 60 thousand cans of food in 36 days and then quite a bit of money too so we’re very appreciative of our guests when they come through the park,” said organizer Danielle Nystrom.

It also gives local high school students a chance to put computer programming classes to a good cause. “I made one of the light shows with music so they have a display out there. It’s trees and stuff that light up and go with a song that’ll play over the speakers,” said display designer Simon Dagit.

Beyond the spirit of the season, some even take the opportunity to make the experience even more magical. “Well, we had our family along with us and I asked her to marry me,” said Stevens Point’s Brandon Zimmerman of new fiancé Stacey Panney.

Zimmerman said he decided to pop the question at the Winter Wonderland because of the special time they had there last year, even though he admits he blacked out in the moment. “I was so scared, I didn’t even know if she answered, but I looked back at the footage and she said yes,” Zimmerman said.

Santa will be on hand to greet the little ones every Thursday through Saturday while the display is up, and there are free carriage rides on Saturdays from 6:00 to 8:00.

They simply ask for donations of food or money to help neighbors in need.