All the lights have been strung and all the light posts have been dressed at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium ahead of the opening weekend of one of Central Ohio’s most cherished holiday traditions: Wildlights.
Efficiently powered by AEP Ohio, Wildlights opens to the general public this Friday, Nov. 15, 2019 and will run through Jan. 5, 2020.
This year marks the 31st Wildlights season with more holiday cheer than ever before. The entire Zoo will be transformed into a winter wonderland covered in millions of LED lights. Some of this year’s main Wildlights attractions include:
- Animated light shows, including “Holiday Rhythms Around the Watering Hole” featuring three new shows at Conservation Lake, and Jingle Ball located at the Shores Play Park.
- Holiday Dreams Seek-n-Find, brought to you by Disney On Ice presents Dream Big, with new winners and magical prizes each week.
- Santa’s Holiday Home in the North America region at the Battelle Ice Bear Outpost! Guests can spend time with Santa and also enjoy holiday sweets with Mrs. Claus at her kitchen in Conservation Courtyard.
- Wildlights rides, including the Polar Bear Express, a train ride through the North America winter wonderland; camel rides located in the North America region; and the 1914 Mangels-Illions Carousel, a historic Central Ohio treasure located near the Columbus Dispatch Charities Grand Pavilion.
- Meet and Greets with Rudolph and Friends. Your favorite holiday TV stars join the Wildlights festivities this year. You can also catch Rudolph and his friends on the big screen at the Shores Play Park 4-D Theater in the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 4-D Theater Experience.
- The Sparkling Spruce, presented by Meyers Jewelers, and its captivating light and sound shows located in the Entry Village.
- And, of course, amazing animals! Many animals will be visible from the comfort of heated, indoor shelters, including Manatee Coast; Discovery Reef; the reptile building; the habitats at Vanishing Giants and the Naomi Coyle Dempsey Quest for Enlightenment Interpretive Center in Asia Quest; and the nocturnal building in the Australia and the Islands region. Others— including Santa’s favorite, the reindeer—will be outside during the festivities.
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Those looking for a more relaxing way to enjoy the splendor of Wildlights can opt to book an after-hours tour and be escorted through the Zoo on VIP golf carts while enjoying a warm blanket and mug of hot chocolate. More information about these tours can be found on the Zoo’s website here.
Other holiday traditions happening concurrently with Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo include:
- Stuff the Truck Food Drive with Kroger and the Zoo benefitting the Mid-Ohio Foodbank
- Jack Hanna’s Home for the Holidays featuring Santa Paws
- Zoo with Trans-Siberian Orchestra at Nationwide Arena
- Zoo Night at Disney on Ice Presents Dream Big
The Zoo opens daily at 10 a.m. with Wildlights activities operating Sundays through Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Zoo will be closed on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28) and Christmas Day (Dec. 25), as well as for Wildlights on Christmas Eve (Dec. 24). Wildlights is included with Zoo admission. Regular admission rates apply to all guests, and admission is free for Columbus Zoo and Aquarium members. For more information about Wildlights and other upcoming events, please visit the Zoo’s event calendar.