How many lights are in the display?
Rotary Winter Wonderland reached over 1,000,000 lights (and have since lost count) and dozens of additional displays
What is the admission to the display?
There is no admission charge to Rotary Winter Wonderland, however free will donations of food and cash are accepted to help the local food pantries and keep our project running.
How do the food pantries benefit?
In the first nine years of our project, we have distributed over 360,000 items of food to 22 pantries in Marshfield and surrounding communities. The pantries have seen a major increase in demand for food due to the poor economy. This project allows the pantries to serve more families without adding any costs to the budget.
Our Board has also committed to writing checks to the pantries in any year in which our receipts are greater than our expenses. We hope that the amount of that donation increases each year as our project grows.
Can we drive through the display?
Yes. There is both a drive route and a walk route. We suggest you do both to take full advantages of seeing all the lights and displays.
It must take forever to hang all those lights. How do you manage to set this up and take it down every year?
Through the magic of Marshfield, we are blessed to have over 1,000 volunteers help with the set up, staffing, and take down of the project. We have many partner organizations – including youth groups, civic groups, and businesses. This project is well beyond the scope of what Rotary could do alone. We are able to set up the park in five days, and take it down in two days. Of course, we have many dedicated workers behind the scenes all year around.
Is there access to wheelchairs or such devices?
We have allowed people with special needs to park inside the zoo, next to the Ludwig Building, so they can get their wheelchairs out. Have them enter the drive in area and ask the volunteers collecting food. Then, have a volunteer help them park and make sure they exit the car safely. They should also be escorted back in to their car and help control traffic as they pull out and exit through the drive route exit.
Can I bring my pet with me to see the lights?
For the safety of the zoo animals and your pet, zoo policy does not allow pets (even on leashes) inside the park gates. Your pet is welcome to ride in the car with you for the drive-thru portion of the lights.
December can bring some pretty tough weather. What is your cancellation policy?
Our policy is to do our best to stay open every night. However, in respect for our volunteer groups and their safety, if the weather is so bad that we feel we have to close, we will post it on on Facebook page.
It must be pretty expensive to light up the park every night. How much energy do you use?
Our electrical use is minimal because we only purchase LED lights. LED lights use only a small fraction of the energy of conventional lights bulbs. We can light the entire park for only $10 per evening.
If the energy is cheap, what are your costs?
We make a substantial investment in new lights to repair those that are damaged, and we try to add a few new features every year to keep the project fresh. We also incur costs for insurance, storage space, and marketing.
It sounds like a pretty big investment each year. How do you pay for it?
We rely on the generosity of our community to pay for Rotary Winter Wonderland. We are grateful to our corporate sponsors, who cover about 50% of our annual costs. The rest of the expenses are paid for by voluntary donations at the gate by our guests. All money is kept in a separate account of the Marshfield Rotary Foundation, a 501(c)(3) corporation, for the exclusive use of Rotary Winter Wonderland.
What is the role of Rotary in this project?
The Rotary Clubs of Marshfield have the ultimate control and responsibility for the project. The Board of Directors of each club oversees the project. A joint committee of the two clubs is in place to guide the project as well. Rotary provides financial support, leadership, and volunteer resources.
For more information on the Marshfield Rotary Clubs, visit:
This must be great for the City of Marshfield. Do they help you pay for anything?
It is true that we bring thousands of visitors to Marshfield every year. However, we have not requested any financial support from the City of Marshfield. The City and Rotary have negotiated a Use Agreement that allows Rotary to use the Wildwood Park for our display. Under the Use Agreement, Rotary has complete responsibility for the content of the display. We do appreciate the cooperation of the zookeepers as we invade their home each year – they are gracious hosts.
Why can't I bring my dog to the Wildwood Park when I come to see the lights?
There are no dogs allowed to walk inside Wildwood Zoo because of the animals. You can drive thru with a dog in the car, but not walking in the zoo area. This is not a Rotary Winter Wonderland rule. It is a City of Marshfield rule. Dogs are never allowed in the zoo no matter what time of the year.
We have information within our website on sponsorship and volunteer opportunities.