The shimmering display of lights is back at the LA Zoo to dazzle us all. Last weekend, my family and I had a memorable evening 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 brings new wonder.
Quick Link: Discount Tickets to LA Zoo Lights
Activities at the LA Zoo Lights
Here’s a run down of what you will enjoy at this year’s LA Zoo Lights:
A herd of reindeer has settled in their “reindeer habitat village” at the zoo. We saw six reindeers when we went. A zoo guide walked by with fallen antlers in his hand to teach visitors a few fun facts about reindeers. The antlers, for example, fall off every year. I didn’t know that. It was an educational moment.
Apart from the reindeers, the amphibians at the LAIR are the only animals you will get the 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.
Pictures with Santa
For an additional fee, you can have your picture taken with Santa on select dates in a glittering North Pole setting.
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 was set up for a photo op.
On the day we visited, a Star Wars team was there and we got to play fight and take pictures with our glowing lightsabers in the night.
Starting last year, a wall of white backdrops has been set up to play with shadows. Accessories such as wings, frames and reindeers hats were on hand to create fun effects or distorted monsters. The kids had a great time playing and wouldn’t leave.
As you walk around, you will also see live bands playing and hear music 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! On the day we went, a couple of fish-headed members of Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia welcomed visitors. It was a sight to see!
The festive holiday lights sparkle everywhere you go. 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.
Go through the Twinkle tunnel to surround yourself with lights in the middle of the night. A new display of colorful animal shapes has been set up this year at the end of the tunnel for another photo opportunity with snow falling on our heads.
Since it was a warm evening in Southern California we didn’t need our jackets. But, please check the weather before you go. You may just need that hot cocoa after all!
LA Zoo Lights Discount Tickets
L.A. Zoo Lights spectacular takes place every night, November 18 – January 8, from 6:00 – 10:00 pm.
Right now you can get discount tickets to attend LA Zoo Lights for only $7.50 per person through Goldstar.com.
Other offers to consider before planning your visit.
Unlimited-access Season Pass with express entry privileges nightly. $49.95 for adults and $44.95 for children ages 2 to 12.
Holiday Happy Hour – Express entry at 6 pm, private lounge including gourmet hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine and specialty cocktails. $75 per person (ages 21 and up), or $70 for GLAZA members.
Family New Year’s Event – On Sunday, December 31, 6 pm: express entry, dinner buffet, soft drinks, a glass of complimentary champagne for adults, sparkling apple cider for kids, dessert, a ride on the Conservation Carousel, games, DJ dance party, cash bar and live broadcast of New York’s Times Square ball drop at 9 pm. $69 for adults and $45 for children. GLAZA members save $5.
If you enjoy your visit as much as we did, please consider voting for L.A. Zoo Lights in this year’s USA Today 10Best Zoo Lights before December 4. The L.A. Zoo is located at 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027.
See you at the light show!
SoCal Field Trips Blog Contributor