SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Great Plains Zoo and Butterfly House Aquarium brought animals to the state capitol for the annual Christmas at the Capitol holiday decorating event.
These were not live animals but decorations on a 27-foot Black Hills spruce, zoo and butterfly house officials said in a news release. The tree is the South Dakota Tree and officials said it was an honor to be selected.
More than 150 ornaments that portray real animals were placed on the tree. Ornaments include 60 blue morpho butterflies and animal footprints including rhinos and rats. Other ornaments represent animal who have recently died including Tama the Japanese macaque, Charles the black bear, and Jabba the stonefish.
The tree celebrates the zoo’s 60th anniversary. It took month to prepare the ornaments which include the painting of animal portraits. Since 60 years is considered a diamond anniversary the decorating team followed a sparkly white and blue color theme.
The official tree lighting ceremony at the state capitol in Pierre is 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 21. Christmas the Capitol is from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Dec. 26.