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Be in Awe of Over 66 Glowing Creatures at the Valley’s Most Cherished Holiday Tradition



Christmas is drawing near! While this year’s holiday may feel more laid-back than last year, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a fun and unique experience. The Valley’s most cherished holiday tradition is back. This means that it is time for you to see millions of dazzling lights. Be in awe of Phoenix Zoo lights and let your family have a wonderful time before the year ends!

Phoenix Zoo Lights Will Let You Feel the Magic This Christmas

Phoenix Zoo az lights

Source: Instagram

This is a cherished holiday tradition for a reason! You won’t see millions of twinkling lights, dazzling animal sculptures, and a Wildlife Lantern Safari in any zoo. Phoenix Zoo Lights will awaken the kid in you with the amazing display of sculptures including mammoths, polar bears, peacocks, and more. The best thing about it is that they are all aglow.

This year, there are expanded trails and new sights and sounds – inarguably offering a bigger, brighter, and better experience to light up your holidays. The zoo also hosts the Cruise ZooLights, a drive-thru experience that is not to be missed. We are pretty sure this is what the guests are looking forward to since the zoo re-opened in September.

What Should You Expect From Phoenix Zoo Lights?

You can opt to choose between the ZooLights Walk-Thru and Cruise Zoolights.

Phoenix Zoo Lights az

Source: Instagram

For the ZooLights Walk-Thru, you will see and experience the twinkling light display by strolling around the park. Try to guess the animal sculptures along the way, and make sure not to miss the Music-in-Motion Light Show on the main lake. The show is choreographed to the epic music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Phoenix Zoo Animals

Source: Instagram

When you reach the Africa Trail, you’d be delighted to see the Wildlife Lantern Safari that includes polar bears, mammoths, koalas, kangaroos, and more. This is a new addition to the cherished event, so it is worth checking out. There is also a newly-added Outer Tropics Trail, where you can enjoy the festive scenes of Polar Paradise in the Forest of Uco.

What’s Next?

ZooLights Walk Thru arizona

Source: Instagram

Just look at the animals in front of you. 
They’re your guide in the tour.

After that, you can pay a visit to Jengo and Tortuga at the Doornbos Discovery Amphitheater before going to the Crossroads Cafe. There, you will see a three-story Christmas Tree where you can take lots of photos to cherish the fun holiday memory. The ZooLights Walk-Thru will also take you to Santa and his helpful elves. They are chilling by the Leapin’ Lagoon, so don’t forget to line up and take home a commemorative photo. If you want, you can even ride a camel for the ultimate photo op!

Don’t Leave Without Trying the Sweet Treats

Before you finish the tour, indulge in sweet holiday treats such as kettle corn and hot cocoa. Then, feel free to take home some mementos from the special evening by visiting the pop-up Zoo shops or the Desert Marketplace gift shop. You can stay for a little longer if you are not satisfied with the number of photos you’ve taken.

Note: The ZooLights Walk-Thru will be closed to foot traffic on Cruised ZooLights nights.

Time: 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm (last entry is 9:30 pm)
Fees: $16 per person for members; $20 per person for the general public (for bulk purchases of 50 and more, the fee is $15 per person). Tickets must also be purchased in advance.

If You Are Not Fond of Walking or Strolling Around, Here Is Another Option

Phoenix Zoo Cruise ZooLights

Source: Instagram

Don’t think your Phoenix Zoo Lights experience only involves a lot of walking. There is also the Cruise ZooLights so you can see the twinkling lights and dazzling animal sculptures from the comfort of your own vehicle. You get the gist of this option already. You’ll be staying inside your car during the whole ride.

Drive Through Christmas Lights phoenix zoo

Source: Instagram

The Cruise experience also takes you to the same route as the ZooLights Walk-Thru. You will be able to tour the Africa Trail, see the new Wildlife Lantern Safari, cruise around the Outer Tropics Trail, and enjoy the festive scenes of Polar Paradise.

Phoenix Zoo Cruise sightseeing

Source: Instagram 

For a more memorable time, you may commemorate your Cruise ZooLights experience with a souvenir photo or with select glow items. Before you go, you will also enjoy shopping for holiday gifts as you exit ZooLights at the Stop, Shop, and Support Cruise Gift Shop on November 27 and 28.

Note: Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Time: 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm (the last vehicle must be in line by 9:30 pm)
Fees: $60 per car for members; $75 per car for the general public (for bulk purchases of 50 and more, the fee is $56 per car)

Rules for the Cruise ZooLights:

  • All van/car doors and hatchbacks must remain closed at all times. If you are bringing a pickup truck, riding in the back is also not allowed.
  • Guests should turn their headlights off and just turn on the parking lights.
  • The speed limit is slow at a tortoise-like 4 mph. You should also just follow the guided route.
  • You are not allowed to shine lights into animal habitats. This includes laser pointers or flashlights.
  • Do not make any noise (honking, yelling, or playing loud music) during the activity.
  • Dispose of your trash properly and keep it inside your car when you leave the Zoo grounds.
  • The vehicles allowed in the Cruise ZooLights tour must be no larger than a full-size long bed truck.

You Can Also Help Other Arizonans by Attending the Phoenix Zoo Lights

Pantry Packs Phoenix az

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The question on your mind might already be, “What? How?”

Phoenix Zoo partnered with Valley of the Sun United Way to support the hungry children in Arizona. They launched the Pantry Packs program wherein they provide 1,500 food packs to local students, every month, during the current school year. On select ZooLights evenings, there will be a Pantry Packs drive for designated, individually packaged items. There are drop off boxes located at the entrance of the Phoenix Zoo.

These are the dates and items being solicited if you want to help:

November 20-21: Animal Crackers (snack size)
December 4-5: Granola or Cereal Bars; December 18-19: Instant Mac and Cheese Cups
January 1-2: Peanut Butter Crackers (snack size); January 15-16: Squeezy Fruit Packs; and January 29-30: Canned Chicken

You Can Also Leave Some Encouragement

Aside from donations, generous guests are also encouraged to drop some personal cards with positive phrases such as “Keep it Up!” “You are on your way to greatness!” to show that you are supporting them. This ensures that you are not only nourishing their bodies but their hearts as well.

Just note that the cards should also be gender- and religious-neutral, and should not make reference to economic status.

Slots fill up fast, so what are you waiting for? Book a Phoenix Zoo Lights ticket in advance now!

Don’t forget to share your experience of Phoenix Zoo Lights in the comments below! If you are visiting Phoenix, you may also check out these articles: Here Are 10 of the Best Things to Do in Phoenix Arizona and There Is a Small Taxidermy Place in Phoenix and It Has All the Weird but Interesting Things.