Chicago’s favorite holiday tradition is back and better than ever in 2021 with our new Pepper Family Wildlife Center at the heart of the zoo, a new holiday lights experience on our Main Mall, and an exciting new light show on our South Lawn. Also new this year: sensory-friendly visit times and an impressive 18-foot holiday tree sure to inspire festive oohs and aahs.
ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ is a cheerful, family-friendly holiday event in the heart of the city.
This year’s ZooLights will again feature hundreds of luminous LED displays and seasonal experiences, all under the glow of millions of lights.
ZooLights will have limited capacity again this year. Tickets are required. Monday and Tuesday nights are free and Wednesday-Sunday tickets are $5.
- Tickets will be available beginning in mid-October.
- All guests (including infants) must have a ticket.
- Nightly capacity is limited to foster a safe and enjoyable guest experience, meaning more space to enjoy the beautiful lights with your family and friends!
Tickets to ZooLights on Mondays and Tuesdays are free! Capacity is limited.
Tickets for free nights will become available in mid-October.
- Nov. 22 & 23
- Nov. 29 & 30
- Dec. 7
- Dec. 14
- Dec. 20 & 21
- Dec. 27 & 28
Friday, November 19, and Monday, December 13, from 4:30-10 p.m.
Lincoln Park Zoo members and their guests get exclusive access to a free night of ZooLights, including a preview of the festivities before gates open to the public. Please note that only zoo members and their guests may enter the zoo on these dates. While complimentary, member registration is required.
November 30 & December 15 from 4–6 p.m.
We work to minimize barriers and ensure that everyone can fully experience the zoo. Our programs, spaces, and facilities are fully accessible to visitors, volunteers, and staff.
New this year: Lincoln Park Zoo is offering two sensory-friendly visit times. During these special event times, all blinking or moving lights will remain static or turned off. Music will be turned off, as well. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
- Photos with Santa (through December 23, 4–9:30 p.m.)
- Lincoln Park Zoo Holiday Tree (Pepper Family Wildlife Center)
- Snowy’s Spirits & S’more pop-up holiday bar (nightly)
- Gorgeous 3D LED lights and hundreds of larger-than-life displays
- Warm spiced wine, frosty beers, and festive cocktail specials
- Delicious holiday snacks
- Joyful gift shopping
New This Year: Light Up the Lawn!
New in 2021! Each evening at 4:30, Lincoln Park Zoo offers a guest, sponsor, or partner the opportunity to “flip the switch” on the South Lawn light show. This is a fun, paid experience that makes a great gift or fun gathering—and an even better photo op! For more information on availability and pricing, contact email@example.com.
Tickets are available for purchase at any ticket booth across zoo grounds, as well as at Landmark Café and the zoo’s Gift Shop. All experiences require one ticket. Members can purchase discounted tickets at the Member Center.
- Ticket prices coming soon!
Light Maze Presented by Invesco QQQ
Twist and turn through the dazzling Light Maze, a beautifully lit path sure to bring on the festive fun. Make sure to wear your 3D Holospex® glasses for extra glow!
Reimagined and enhanced for 2021, the new Enchanted Forest is a fairy-tale dreamland! Meander among butterflies, flowers, mushrooms, and dripping lights with whimsical music and a magical ambiance. A must-see photo op!
AT&T Endangered Species Carousel
Hop on and take in the lights as you go round and round—a great spin for all ages!
Lionel Train Adventure
Best for kids 10 and under (accompanied by parents), Lionel Train Adventure offers a ride through a small garden with fun sculptures and animal whimsy along the way.
BrewLights Presented by Louis Glunz Beer, Inc.
Thursday, December 2, from 6:30–10 p.m.
After a year off, this sudsy favorite hosted by the zoo’s Auxiliary Board is back! Sample tasty beers among millions of lights. Stroll the grounds and snap photos for your feed.
The Chris White Trio Tribute to “A Charlie Brown Christmas”
Sunday, December 12, 7 p.m. (Café Brauer)
Tap your toes during this soulful jazz tribute to the holiday classic.
Adults Night Out: Holidaze!
Thursday, December, 16 from 6:30–10 p.m.
The winter installment of the zoo’s most popular after-hours event gives adults exclusive access to stroll zoo grounds with hot chocolate, mulled wine, or beer in hand. Come for the millions of holiday lights, stay for the carousel rides!
Zoo Year’s Eve
Friday, December 31, from 9 p.m.–12:30 a.m.
Ring in the new year surrounded by one of the biggest light shows in Chicago! Warm up with s’mores by the fire at Snowy’s Spirits & S’more and toast 2022 with champagne at midnight. In partnership with River North Fests.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is ZooLights taking place?
Lights are placed throughout zoo grounds and around the zoo’s Nature Boardwalk. All ticketed attractions and events take place throughout main zoo grounds.
Will I see animals?
Hopefully! Most outdoor habitats and buildings will be open for viewing. Some buildings may be closed for private events at various times throughout the season.
Animals always have the choice to be in view of guests or behind the scenes where they have privacy.
Do I need a ticket to attend ZooLights?
Yes, tickets are required to attend ZooLights. Tickets are free on Mondays and Tuesdays and $5 Wednesday-Sunday nights. All members of your party must have a ticket.
What is a holiday experience ticket?
Holiday experiences at ZooLIghts, listed under the “Ticketed Experiences” section of this page, require an additional cost of $3 per ticket, or bundled for a discount. Tickets are available at ticket booths throughout grounds, as well as Landmark Café and the Gift Shop.
Tickets are $3 each, 10 for $27, and $51 for 20 tickets.
Can I use Holiday Experience tickets to enter the zoo?
No. Holiday Experience tickets are only used to enjoy attractions inside ZooLights. To enter the zoo, you must have a ticket.
Can tickets be traded or transferred? What if there’s bad weather on my reservation date?
The zoo and ZooLights are open rain or shine. Zoo entry and Holiday Experience tickets can be traded between people, but all tickets are non-refundable. .
Do I have to arrive at the time I booked?
Yes, please arrive within 30 minutes of your ticket time. If you arrive at another time, you may not be guaranteed entry.
Do I have to wear a face covering?
Lincoln Park Zoo follows CDC, City, and State public health guidelines. We also sometimes require a face covering in animal buildings in the interest of keeping animals safe. Please wear a face covering in animal buildings.
Will there be food and beverages for sale?
Yes! All sorts of seasonal food and drinks will be available, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic options and sweet and savory treats. Full meals are also available at Park Place Café, Landmark Café, and Bird’s Eye Bar & Grill.