Zoo Lights: Wild Holiday Fun at the San Antonio Zoo
It’s become a favorite family holiday tradition. Zoo Lights is back again for the most wonderful time of the year. Every night until New Year’s Day, the San Antonio Zoo is illuminated with what seem like millions of twinkling lights, special holiday displays and special activities.
This year, my family turned what would have been an ordinary Monday night into a holiday adventure. The grounds weren’t too crowded and we felt like we had the run of the joint. We managed to find a great spot to enjoy the Johnson Family Light Show, a vibrant light show set to EDM, dubstep and hip hop. Lights move in time to the music and kids and families dance along.
As the event is after hours (the zoo closes at 4 p.m. and reopens at 6 p.m. for Zoo Lights) many animals are snoozing, which itself is fun to see, but we managed to spot some nocturnal animals like cats and bats enjoying all the evening activity. If you are feeling extra adventurous, take a guided camel ride. If that’s too up close and personal, enjoy the illuminated animals.
Look up. Look around. Look down. Lights are everywhere. And while adults will definitely enjoy the spectacular sights, the real joy comes from watching little ones chase the lights and dance around with their shadows as their little faces smile from ear to ear. Not only are they getting to go to the zoo at night (!) but they can take part in some cold-weather fun that they normally wouldn’t. Work up an appetite on the ice skating rink, and then indulge in some s’mores that you melt yourself over a fire pit. My son’s favorite special feature was the “snow.” No, the zoo didn’t miraculously make it snow in South Texas, but they did create a fun snow effect with soft, pillowy foam that falls dissolves almost immediately.
Second only to the snow was the visit to the North Pole. Guests can grab a snack and head over to visit with Santa in a mini version of his workshop. After chatting for a moment and sharing any secret Christmas wishes, guests can also take pictures. Then, it’s off to the gift shop to stock up on unique ornaments and get some unexpected gifts and stocking stuffers.
In addition to all that fun, there are more surprises around every corner. Be sure to bring your camera, but if you do forget, stop by the giant snow globe and take a family portrait unlike anything else you have in your family album.
See you at the zoo!
When: Zoo Lights runs nightly beginning at 6 p.m. through January 1, 2017.
How much: Tickets to Zoo Lights start at $12.99 for select dates. Tickets for weekend and holiday dates are $14.99. Check SaZoo.org for daily prices. Members get a $4 discount. Children under 2 are free.
Special Offer: Guests can enjoy the Zoo Lights, a trip on the Zoo Lights train and a ride on the Zoo Lights carousel for $19.99. Tickets are available online at SaZoo.org or at the ticket window.