By Chris McKinnon

STONEHAM (CBS) – Located in the triangle between 93, 128 and Route 1, Stoneham was once a hub of shoe manufacturing.

Stoneham is the birthplace of two-time Olympic figure skating medalist Nancy Kerrigan and for those who would rather walk or bike, this community north of Boston is also part of a newly constructed series of trails knows as the Tri-community Greenway.

ihh stoneham transfer It Happens Here: Stonehams Zoo Lights Spread Holiday Cheer

The North Pole at Stone Zoo. (WBZ-TV)

And, if you love Christmas and animals, there is no better place this time of year. The Stone Zoo is decked out with hundreds of thousands of lights and decorations. It’s an annual display that, according to manager Joe Gresci, takes months of planning.

“It’s an all year round project,” he said.

From flamingos to bald eagles and even black bears, every exhibit is surrounded by color.

“It looks rainbow-ish. I like it,” one little boy told us.

“It’s pretty,” his little sister added.

flamingos It Happens Here: Stonehams Zoo Lights Spread Holiday Cheer

Visitors check out the flamingos at Stone Zoo’s Zoo Lights. (WBZ-TV)

It all started about 20 years ago when a Peabody family with a large holiday display donated all of their lights to the zoo.

“We still get comments from visitors who say, ‘Oh, I remember that from the house in Peabody,” Gresci said.

There’s lots to do for the little ones. They can swing by the ‘North Pole’ to say hello to Santa and take a picture with Willow the reindeer. There are also small rides, food and a classic train set.

zoo2 It Happens Here: Stonehams Zoo Lights Spread Holiday Cheer

Smokey and Bubba, two black bears, greet Stone Zoo visitors right when they walk through the gates. (WBZ-TV)

It’s a great way to support the zoo, which rescues many of their animals, including Smokey and Bubba, two black bears who greet visitors right when they walk through the gates.

The zoo uses volunteers from local high schools and colleges to install the lights, and on New Year’s Day, they all start coming down again, a process that takes about a month.

Chris McKinnon

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