To see the National Zoo awash in the glow of more than a half-million LED lights this year, you will have to pony up $6.
This is the first year that ZooLights will not be free. Tickets will be required for anyone over the age of 2.
ZooLights happens rain or shine for 23 nights, and tickets go on sale Thursday, October 26.
When Is ZooLights Happening?
Here are the dates for the dazzling display:
- Nov. 24–26,
- Nov. 30–Dec. 3,
- Dec. 7–10,
- Dec. 14–17,
- Dec. 21–23,
- Dec. 26–30.
The light display takes place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.
The zoo said the ticket fee will offset a “significant increase in costs associated with running this event,” a news release said. Parking can be purchased ahead of time for $30.
There will be three nights for National Zoo members, November 30, December 7, and December 14. Members will be able to reserve up to six free entry passes and one free parking pass.
What to Expect
While you won’t see any of the indoor animals during ZooLights, the zoo said, “True to the unique setting of the zoo, visitors will see 130 lanterns depicting ocean, desert, grassland, rainforest, and polar habitats, and the animals that call them home.”
In addition to the lights, the zoo will have live music, s’mores, popcorn, cookies, and seasonal gelato.
“Hungry visitors can dine outdoors at Sbarro or enjoy ZooLights specials at Bootheel BBQ, including brisket chili, gumbo, and jambalaya. Children can stay warm by sipping hot chocolate or spiced cider while adults enjoy holiday beverages, including a cinnamon vanilla bean latte, warm bourbon-spiked cider, a hot cocoa cocktail at Vintage Views, and mulled wine at Elevation Burger,” the zoo said.
Any proceeds from the tickets, parking, and concessions during ZooLights will benefit the care and conservation of the animals.
The National Zoo is located at 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC.
Feature image by Skip Brown, courtesy Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute
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