The shimmering display of lights is back at the LA Zoo to dazzle us all from November 17, 2023 – January 7, 2024.
L.A.’s brightest winter tradition has been reimagined for the 2023/2024 season! Explore an immersive landscape filled with spectacular lantern sculptures of animals among blooming flowers, towering trees, and more for, a wildlife-centered experience that’s as inspiring as it is breathtaking.
My family and I have had many memorable evenings walking around the zoo and enjoying the displays of thousands of lights. Even though the resident animals are asleep during the LA Zoo Lights, it’s a great way to spend an evening with your kids while walking around with hot cocoa in your hands or going on a date night with your spouse or having a girl’s night out. We’ve visited Zoo Lights since its debut in 2014 and every year it brings new wonder.
Activities at the LA Zoo Lights
Here’s a run down of what you will enjoy at LA Zoo Lights from years past:
Apart from hearing the zoo animals sleep, the amphibians at the LAIR are the only animals you will get to see while visiting the zoo at night. During Zoo Lights, the LAIR is decorated with black-insects and orbs, turning it into a psychedelic rainforest.
A few years ago, LA Zoo Lights set up a wall of white backdrops called the Shadowbox Op for guests to have fun and play with their shadows. Accessories such as wings, frames and reindeers hats are on hand to create fun effects, distorted monsters or to simply do the floss! The kids had a great time playing and refused to leave the area!
Pictures with Santa
For an additional fee, you can have your picture taken with Santa on select dates in a glittering North Pole setting.
As you walk around, you will hear music playing all throughout the zoo. At the intersection where you get to the LAIR, disco balls are hung in the trees and upbeat music is blasting so you can’t help but get your groove on! Elephant statues are used as screens to project images moving to the beat of the music.
The Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel is glowing with thousand of lights at night and adds up to the atmosphere of the ZOO Lights evening. For $3 per ride, the kids with enjoy climbing on top of the vintage animal and turn and turn in the merry-go-round. Right next to the carousel, a backdrop of shimmering silver christmas trees is set up for a photo op.
Take a self-guided 60-to-90 minute stroll through a large area of the Zoo filled with wildlife-inspired displays, dynamic lights and projections, immersive interactive experiences, fabulous photo ops, and seasonal magic. The festive holiday lights sparkle everywhere you go and a return for the 2022 holiday season, you can see the world’s largest illuminated pop-up storybook.
Round lights on the Christmas tree at the entrance, strings lights on the trees for a Starlight Safari, a disco ball forest, an animated “Northern Lights” projection with glittering animal constellations, lights on the water with a new spectacular Water and Light Show, lights on the buildings and lights in the shape of meerkats.
Since it was a warm evening in Southern California we didn’t need our jackets. But, please make sure to check the weather before you go. You may just need that hot cocoa after all!
LA Zoo Lights Discount Tickets
L.A. Zoo Lights takes place every night, November 17, 2023 – January 7, 2024 from 6 to 10 pm.
Sometimes you can get discount tickets to attend LA Zoo Lights through Goldstar.com (a small service applies).
Helpful Tips for attending LA Zoo Lights
- Guests with 6 p.m. tickets may enter any time from 6 to 8:45 p.m. Guests with 7:30 p.m. tickets may enter any time from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m.
- LA Zoo Lights is closed most Mondays and Tuesdays plus Thanksgiving Day (November 24), December 24, and December 25.
- L.A. Zoo (GLAZA) Members save up to 27% on nightly tickets. Current AAA members can save on tickets at the Box Office by presenting a valid AAA membership card. They also offer a Military Discount for active service members.
- The Box Office at the Zoo is open from 5:45 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- Be aware that regular commuter traffic around the Zoo on weeknight evenings is heaviest from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Park for free any night.
- All parking lot gates are open to enter and exit the lot.
- Parking is also available in adjacent lots at the Autry Museum and the lot south of the main lot.
- Lots of great food and drinks are available in the Zoo. Outside food and drinks are not permitted.
- The event takes place rain or shine.
The L.A. Zoo is located at 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027.
Happy Holiday Field Tripping!
SoCal Field Trips Blog Contributor
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