If you’re already looking forward to the holidays, we have some good news for you. ZooLights will return to Lincoln Park Zoo this year for the 26th annual edition of the beloved winter event. 

You can expect all the luminous light displays, seasonal activities, and festive treats that have made ZooLights a cherished holiday tradition. But there will also be a few changes this year, like a new ticket policy. Read on to learn more about ZooLights 2020.

When is ZooLights?

ZooLights will be open on select dates from Nov. 21, 2020 through Jan. 3, 2021. Hours are 4 – 10 p.m.

What’s different at ZooLights this year?

While the event will still include the luminous light displays you know and love, there will be a few changes. Here’s what to expect.

You’ll need to buy a ticket. This year, Lincoln Park Zoo is requiring all guests to purchase a timed entry ticket for $5. All ticket sales will support Lincoln Park Zoo’s world-class animal care and global conservation efforts.

The event will be all outdoors. Make sure to dress warmly because the animal houses will remain closed. Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to see many animals in their outdoor habitats.

Bring your mask! You know the drill. All zoo guests over the age of 2 will be asked to wear a face covering to ensure the safety of staff and other visitors.

Can I see ZooLights for free?

Yes! There will be five free nights during ZooLights: Nov. 24, and Dec. 9, 17, 21, and 29. Reservations are still required on free nights; complimentary tickets will be released the Sunday prior to each free date at 4 p.m.

There are also two free members-only nights on Nov. 20 and Dec. 1. 

Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park Zoo

What can I do at ZooLights?

There’s plenty to see and do at ZooLights! Check out some of the fun activities and events in store for this year:

See the lights! The main event at ZooLights are the lights themselves. Expect dazzling lights and dynamic displays, made up of hundreds of thousand of twinkling bulbs. 

Meet the animals. Visit the many winter animals at their outdoor habitats, from polar bears to snow monkeys. 

Explore the Light Maze. Twist and turn through the illuminated Light Maze, which will be open every night of ZooLights. One ticket ($3) required per guest.

Visit an Enchanted Forest. The Children’s Zoo will be transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with music, lights, smoke, and mirrors. One ticket ($3) required per guest.

Sip drinks at a holiday pop-up bar. Head to Snowy’s Spirits & S’more for over-the-top holiday decor, festive cocktails, and s’mores over a roaring fire. One ticket ($3) required per guest.

Enjoy an adults-only evening. Guests age 18 and older can enjoy a kids-free evening during Adults Night Out: Holidaze! on Dec. 10. Tickets start at $15.

Hear live jazz music. Enjoy a jazz tribute to A Charlie Brown Christmas from the Chris White Trio on Dec 13. In-person tickets ($35) will be limited and include one complimentary drink. Virtual tickets will be $15.

How do I get tickets for ZooLights?

You can purchase tickets online at Lincoln Park Zoo’s website. You’ll need to pick a date and time for your visit while purchasing. The zoo asks that you arrive within 30 minutes of your selected entry time; there is no time limit for your visit.

Tickets for zoo members go on sale Sept. 24, and tickets for the general public open at 10 a.m. on Oct. 1. Make sure to get your tickets early, as they’re sure to go fast!

There will also be ticketed experiences within ZooLights, like the Light Maze and a holiday-themed pop-up bar. Holiday Experience tickets cost $3 for one ticket, $27 for 10 tickets, and $51 for 20 tickets. Tickets are available in advance or in limited supply at Landmark Café and the zoo’s gift shop.