Q: What is the Zoo Lights event?
A: The whole family will enjoy an exciting array of animal-themed light displays, nightly live entertainment, story time with local authors, and special holiday treats for sale. The signature attraction at Audubon Zoo Lights presented by Children’s Hospital will be silk-lighted replicas of some of the Zoo’s most popular animals, including a larger-than-life peacock.
Q: When are the Zoo Lights dates and times?
A: November 23, 24, 25, 29, 30 / December 1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30
The event runs from 5:30pm to 9:30pm each night.
Q: Do guests walk through it or ride through it?
A: This is a walking experience! Audubon Zoo’s Swamp Train will not be in operation during Zoo Lights hours.
Q: What types of activities are there?
A: Children and those young at heart will enjoy interactive light displays including Gum Drop Hop and Light Brights. An Elves Workshop will be hosting crafts appropriate for all ages. Local authors will also be reading and engaging young listeners with interactive activities in our Fireside Tales area nightly.
Q: How much is a Zoo Lights ticket?
A: Tickets are $10 for Audubon Nature Institute members and $15 for non-members. Children under two are free.
Q: How do I buy tickets?
A: Tickets may be purchased online or at any Audubon venue ticketing kiosk window location. It is highly suggested to purchase tickets ahead of time to expedite entry.
- Online ticket sales close 30 minutes prior to event start time. When online ticket sales end, available Zoo Lights tickets may be purchased at the Zoo front gate until 9:00pm.
- Online ticket purchases can be scanned from the confirmation email on your smart phone.
- Limited tickets are available each night.
Q: What is the refund policy?
A: Zoo Lights tickets are non-refundable. If you pre-purchased tickets, but are unable to attend, consider giving them as gifts to friends or family.
Q: Where do I park? Is there a fee to park?
A: Free parking is available at Audubon Zoo. Please be mindful of barricades and signage that is put into place to create a smooth parking experience for our guests. Also, please be expeditious when dropping off friends and family near the front gate so not to impede the flow of traffic. Audubon Zoo parking can fill up quickly. A later arrival (8 p.m. rather than 5:30 p.m.) may improve your parking options. You can use your favorite rideshare app such as Lyft or Uber to save time and avoid parking inconveniences.
Q: Will there be an opportunity for pictures?
A: While picture opportunities will be a-plenty, take a selfie at the Safari Streetcar or get professional with Magic Memories at Polar Pics where you can find Santa!
- $30 Photo Package
- (1) 6x8 photo in a folder
- (1) Sheet of wallets (3x4)
- (1) Photo ornament
- $20 Single Photo Package
- (1) 6x8 in a folder along with a stock shot
- Add-ons To Above Photo Packages
- $10 Additional 6x8 print
- $5 Digital copies of any/all photos
- $5 Photo ornament
Q: Will Audubon Marketplace be open?
A: Audubon Marketplace will be open to purchase gifts for the holiday season such as bubble wands, snowflake wands, small fiber-optic snowman wands, red/green pixel swords, light up hoberman spheres, holiday necklaces, headbands, and more! Members will receive 20% off all full-priced items. (Because add-ons are already discounted, members won't receive an additional discount on those items.) Child Life Gift Program: To support patients at Children’s Hospital, guests may purchase select gifts and receive a thank you card at time of purchase. Child Life gifts will be gathered weekly for delivery to Children’s Hospital. Prices are $10, $15, and $25. There will also be a Mistletoe Market where guests may purchase gifts from local artists. Artists will change weekly and a list will be posted on the website.
Q: Can I bring in food/ beverages? Will food/beverages be available for purchase?
A: Ice chests or outside food and beverage will not be allowed except for baby food/formula. During Zoo Lights, guests will find a variety of food selections at our open eateries including Flamingo Café, Carousel Café, Zoofari Café, Haagan-Dazs, Holly Jolly Java, and Sleigh Bell Snacks. Beverages, including child-friendly and adult-friendly (with a valid ID), are also for sale. All cafes can accept cash or credit.
Q: How do I dress for the event?
A: This is a casual event, so please dress appropriately for the weather. Comfortable, flat shoes are recommended.
Q: What happens if it rains?
A: Zoo Lights is a rain-or-shine event so bring an umbrella or raincoat! No rain checks will be issued for this event. NOTE: The light displays pose no danger when exposed to water.
Q: If I visit the Zoo during the day, can we stay for the evening Zoo Lights event without having to pay extra?
A: Guests that have pre-purchased Zoo Lights tickets the same night as their daytime visit cannot remain in the Zoo until Zoo Lights opens at 5:30pm. They will need to exit the Zoo at closing time (4pm on weekdays, 5pm on weekends) and return at 5:30pm when Zoo Lights opens to the public.
Q: Can I bring a camera and/or flashlight?
A: Flashlights and laser pointers are not allowed at Zoo Lights for the safety of our animals and the courtesy of other guests, but you may take photos or video of the experience. Remember to tag us and #AudubonZooLights!
Q: Will I be able to see Zoo animals?
A: Zoo Lights is an evening holiday event that does not offer the same animal viewing opportunities as a daytime visit though there will be a chance to meet some of our smaller furry friends between 5:30-8:30pm nightly in Mistletoe Market at the Animal Encounters booth.
Q: What is Lights for Lions? Should the donated holiday string lights work?
A: During this event, Audubon will collect broken and unwanted holiday string lights for recycling at the Zoo front gate. Look for the festive Lights for Lions donation box outside of the front gates at the Zoo. You do not need to enter the Zoo to donate your holiday string lights!
Q: Is Zoo Lights an inside or outside event?
A: The event takes place primarily outdoors, within Audubon Zoo. Polar Pics will be hosted indoors near the entrance and there are covered areas including Fireside Tales and the Elves Workshop along the event footpath.
Q: Are mobility devices available to rent at the Zoo during Zoo lights such as manual and electric wheelchairs and strollers?
A: Yes. Mobility devices are available for rent during Zoo Lights from the Zoo’s Information Booth. Electronic Wheelchair - $25 (Identification required for deposit); Manual Wheelchair - $8 ($5 deposit); Single Stroller - $11 ($5 deposit); Double Stroller - $13 ($5 deposit).
Q: Will the Zoo’s shuttle operate?
A: There will not be a Zoo shuttle in operation for Zoo Lights.
Q: How long does it take to get in? How long does it take to experience Zoo Lights?
A: Pre-purchased tickets will expedite entry. Estimated experience time depends on guest activity selection. Projected experience time is a minimum of 2 hours.
Q: Will there be strobe or other lights that may affect someone with special sensory processing needs?
A: Zoo Lights will not feature any strobe or other type of lighting that will trigger adverse reactions in light sensitive guests.