ZooLights Holiday Display at the Phoenix Zoo

  • 01 of 10

    ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo

    Zoolights Phoenix 2014
    © Judy Hedding

    Each winter, the Phoenix Zoo puts up an amazing display of colorful holiday lights for its ZooLights exhibit. It takes five people nearly four months to install the millions of lights.

    The Phoenix Zoo is the country's largest private, nonprofit zoological park. ZooLights is the zoo's largest fundraiser.

    ZooLight is open November 22, 2017, to January 14, 2018, from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. If you'll be in the Phoenix area during the holidays, be sure not to miss this popular attraction. It is one of the most beautiful collections of holiday lights in the Greater Phoenix area. Once you've seen it, you'll want to go every year!

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  • 02 of 10

    Arrive Early to Avoid Crowds

    ZooLights at Phoenix Zoo
    © Judy Hedding

    ZooLights attracts 300,000 visitors each holiday season, so viewings can be crowded. Most people get there when it opens at 5:30 p.m. It will already be dark at that time. To avoid the crowds, arrive around 7:30 p.m. Least-crowded nights are Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays in early December and the first week of January.

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  • 03 of 10

    Dress Appropriately for ZooLights

    ZooLights at Phoenix Zoo
    © Judy Hedding

    Despite getting the warm rays of the desert sun during the day, Phoenix can get pretty cold in the evenings. Dress for winter—bring gloves and wear a sweater under your jacket. You can always take off extra layers, but don't neglect to bundle up the kids—you won't want to leave ZooLights early if they get cold. If it rains, ZooLights will be open but some activities or special exhibits may not be available.

    Some sections of the zoo are very dark. Flashlights are not permitted, but it isn't a bad idea to bring a small lantern for the little ones, or, at the very least, to get them a glow necklace to wear so you can always see them. Kids' shoes with flashing lights work well, too.

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  • 04 of 10

    Don't Expect to See Many Live Animals

    Zoolights Phoenix 2014
    © Judy Hedding

    ZooLights is all about the holiday lights, so don't expect to see many real animals. Most of the live animal exhibits are closed. However, you may be able to see the zebras, flamingos, Komodo dragons, and otters.

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  • 05 of 10

    Enjoy Lighted Animal Sculptures

    Zoolights Phoenix © Judy Hedding
    © Judy Hedding

    The stars of the show are the lights, particularly the animals created from lights. You'll see bats hanging from trees, deer, swans, bugs, monkeys, butterflies, and more illuminated creatures. The spider and its web are particularly impressive.


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  • 06 of 10

    Don't Miss Jengo the Talking Giraffe

    Zoolights Phoenix
    © Judy Hedding

    Jengo the talking giraffe and Tortuga the talking Galapagos tortoise will mesmerize children. If you don't know there is a mechanical giraffe and tortoise at ZooLights, you'll do a double-take because they look so real.

    They aren't real, but the stingrays in Stingray Bay are and you can even touch them. Other activities include taking a carousel ride, getting photos taken with Santa, and enjoying holiday food and drinks. The Phoenix Zoo also has one of the Arizona's best gift shops

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  • 07 of 10

    Marvel at the Millions of Lights

    ZooLights at Phoenix Zoo
    © Judy Hedding

    There are nearly four million lights and 700 light sculptures at ZooLights. Of course, there's holiday music along the way, too.

    Start on the path to the right when you enter. That will bring you around to the lake, pictured above, as well as other lights and activities, such as the camel rides. When you are done with this section, cross over to the Arizona Trail where there is a higher concentration of beautiful lights. 


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  • 08 of 10

    Take Your Time

    Zoolights Phoenix 2014
    © Judy Hedding

    You'll have plenty of time to enjoy ZooLights. Walk the paths, stop for a snack and a beverage, and then walk around the other way. You are sure to see something you missed the first time around. Walking at a leisurely pace, the typical visitor will spend up to two hours at ZooLights. 

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  • 09 of 10

    Tickets and Dates for Phoenix ZooLights

    ZooLights at Phoenix Zoo
    © Judy Hedding

    Tickets for ZooLights may be purchased at the Phoenix Zoo during the day until 4 p.m. or at ZooLights when the gate opens at 5:30 p.m. They can also be bought online at for $2 off.

    Any Night Ticket: $17.95 ($21.95 with Dinos in the Desert
    Value Ticket: $12.95 ($16.95 with Dinos in the Desert

    Zoo members receive a discounted admission. Children two and younger are free. There are no other price points for children or seniors.

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  • 10 of 10

    More Details About ZooLights

    ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo
    © Judy Hedding

    455 North Galvin Parkway
    Phoenix, AZ 85008

    Here's more information about the Phoenix Zoo.