Mowgli and friends come to life - in Antwerp's annual light spectacular

Most of us are familiar with them: Mowgli, Bagheera and Baloo and friends. 

Yes, the Jungle Book characters have enchanted scores of young and old alike down the years.

But this year, people in Belgium have a chance to enjoy Rudyard Kipling’s jungle residents in an entirely different light – literally.

For they will take centre-stage of this year’s annual light show in Belgium’s 2nd city.

Every year the Antwerp zoo forms the backdrop for a light show and this year is no different though the 2019 version (unlike past editions which have had Chinese theme) revolves around the story of Mowgli et al.

For the story, the zoo returned to the original Kipling book. The Chinese light artworks transport the visitor to depths of the Indian jungle where the famous animal figures experience their fun and games. 

The whole story is told throughout the zoo’s sprawling gardens with light sculptures and compositions which are brought to life three-dimensionally to illustrate different story scenes. 

The work that goes into putting on the now traditional light festival at the zoo is particularly impressive. 

Consider this: the 2019 show comprises 68 compositions; 3,500 light objects (800 more than last year); 150 animals; 45 tons of steel and 32 containers. It uses no less than 25,000 energy-efficient lights; 15,000 meters of cable and 23,000 meters of satin.

Not just that but some 5,000 hours of craftsmanship have been invested into the spectacle by a total of 120 artists.

Jungle Book is, of course, a story about friendship, courage and adventure and these are some of the qualities this show aims to replicate.

This is the 5th edition of the light show and it comes from the makers of China Light Zoo.

It has proved a huge hit and, just as in the past, it’s sure to enchant those lucky enough to experience it and makes for a great Christmas treat for the kids!

Further info:

The Jungle Book Light Festival runs until January 12, 2020 (excluding December 24 and 31). You start your visit between 6pm and 8pm and are asked to opt for one of 3 time slots (either from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm; 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm or 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm). The time slot determines when you start your visit but beware that the festival closes its doors at 9:30 pm. 

Prices range from €14 for kids aged 3-17 to €17 for adults with some concessions.

Accessing it by train from Brussels could not be easier as the zoo is located next to Antwerp Central. 

It is possible to combine an NMBS B-Day trip formula with an admission ticket. 

If you visit by car, there is a special Jungle Book Light rate at Parking Station Zoo (Van Schoonhovenstraat 25, 200 meters from the zoo). You pay only €3 between 5 pm and 11 pm. Just hand in your parking ticket to the porter to validate and pay at the parking machine in Parking Station zoo.

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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