The most wonderful time of the year deserves the most wonderful occasion of the year, so celebrate the holidays with us at ZooLights Presented By ComEd and Invesco QQQ! This one-of-a-kind, festive holiday experience offers a merry, family-oriented tradition in the heart of the city.
ZooLights will feature hundreds of luminous displays and incredible seasonal activities, all under the glow of millions of illuminated lights, plus reduced capacity admission to keep your family safe.
Changes Due to COVID-19
This year, ZooLights will follow City and State guidelines to ensure a safe experience that allows social distancing.
Tickets will cost $5 per guest to support Lincoln Park Zoo’s dedication to wildlife and conservation. All guests, including children and infants, must have a ticket to enter ZooLights, and groups cannot exceed 10 people.
Please dress warmly, as animal buildings will be closed; however, animals may be visible in their outdoor habitats.
The City of Chicago requires a 14-day quarantine for any individual visiting Chicago or returning to Chicago from any state listed in the city’s Emergency Travel Order. If you have been in any of these states within 14 days, please adhere to the regulation and do not visit the zoo. By visiting the zoo, you confirm that you have not visited any of these states in the 14 days prior to your visit.
Members get early access to tickets! The ZooLights Member Presale runs from September 24-30. After selecting your preferred date, simply enter the first three digits of your member ID to access your members-only tickets. Remember to bring your membership card when you visit!
Members also get two free Members-Only Nights, taking place November 20 and December 1, as well as year-round perks, like free or discounted parking and access to other members-only experiences.
While admission to ZooLights is paid, there will also by five free nights. These days will offer the same exciting holiday experience and tickets are still required, but they will be complimentary. These tickets will be released the Sunday prior to each date at 4 p.m.
- Socially distanced photos with Santa (from 4:30–9:30 p.m. until he heads back to the North Pole on December 23)
- Incredible 3D displays
- Warm spiced wine, frosty beers, and festive specials
- Delicious holiday snacks
- Joyful gift shopping
- Exciting ticketed experiences (including a one-of-a-kind light maze, holiday pop-up, and enchanted forest)
- Hundreds of larger-than-life displays
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.
You will receive special 3D Holospex® Glasses at each experience; the glasses were specially created for each individual experience. Collect them all!
Snowy’s Spirits & S’more
Due to popular demand, this holiday pop-up is back and brighter than ever before. Enjoy the lights from above the Gift Shop looking down on the Main Mall. Guests can enjoy special spirited drinks, fun festive food options, and delightful s’mores by the fire.
1 ticket required per person
This experience features whimsical music and a hazy, charmed, forest ambiance of dark blue and purple lighting at Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo.
1 ticket required per person
Light Maze Presented by Invesco QQQ
Twist and turn through this year’s dazzling Light Maze, a beautifully lit path sure to rouse holiday spirits while keeping the family safe.
1 ticket required per person
It’s our responsibility to minimize barriers and ensure that everyone can fully experience the zoo. Our programs, spaces, and facilities are fully accessible to our visitors, volunteers, and staff.
Special Happenings This Winter
Members-Only Nights at ZooLights
Friday, November 20, and Tuesday, December 1, from 4–10 p.m.
Lincoln Park Zoo members and their guests get exclusive access to a free night of ZooLights, including a special preview of the festivities before the gates open to the public.
(Please note: Only Lincoln Park Zoo members and their guests may enter the zoo on these evenings. While complimentary, advanced registration is required.)
ZooLights Virtual Challenge Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ
November 27–January 3
This fun, virtual activity challenges families and friends to choose from four virtual distances: Ultra Marathon (52.4 miles), Marathon (26.2 miles), Half Marathon (13.1 miles), or Kids’ distance (2.62 miles). Complete the distance of your choice at your own pace. Set your own pace and take as many days as you need within the 38-day window to complete your distance! Participant swag varies by registration package.
Adults Night Out: Holidaze!
Thursday, December 10, from 6:30–10 p.m.
This winter version of the zoo’s most popular program series gives adults exclusive access to stroll zoo grounds after hours with hot chocolate, mulled wine, or beer in hand. Come for the millions of holiday lights, dazzling displays, holiday activities, cash bars, and educational entertainment.
(Please note: Only guests with an Adults Night Out ticket will be allowed entry to the zoo this evening.)
The Chris White Trio Tribute to A Charlie Brown Christmas
Sunday, December 13, from 7–8 p.m.
Chris White is back for an encore! Tap your toes during this soulful jazz tribute to a favorite holiday classic: “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” This year will feature a reduced capacity general admission ticket at the zoo’s Café Brauer, as well as a virtual option so you can enjoy the show from the comfort of home.
(Please note: This is a hybrid experience that takes place both at Café Brauer and online.)
Virtual Walk-through of ZooLights with the Producers
Saturday, December 19, at 7 p.m.
Join producers of ZooLights, along with Scott Parish, owner of Illuminight Lighting, for an inside look on how ZooLights comes together and is produced year after year. We will discuss how designs are conceptualized, fabricated, and installed around grounds, as well as how we prepare for guests while creating our magical evenings.
Virtual Story Time with Santa
Sunday, December 20, at 10 a.m.
Join Lincoln Park Zoo and Santa to celebrate the most joyous time of the year. Held over Zoom, this program will kick off with the jolly man reading The Mitten by Jan Brett, as well as Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson. At the end of the program, you will meet a Lincoln Park Zoo animal and receive a special, inside look at its habitat.
Virtual Meet-and-Greet a Lincoln Park Zoo Animal
Sunday, January 9, at 10 a.m.
Lincoln Park Zoo is home to nearly 200 species. During this virtual experience, you will start your day with an intimate look at the fascinating animals living at Lincoln Park Zoo. Join Mike Murray, curator of mammals, on a journey to learn more about a specific animal group— from their habits and diets to their individualized care and general personality traits.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is ZooLights taking place?
Ticketed attractions for ZooLights will take place throughout main zoo grounds.
Will I see animals?
Most outdoor animal exhibits will be open; however, all animal houses and Farm-in-the-Zoo will be closed due to City and State restrictions.
Nearly 200 species live at Lincoln Park Zoo. In general, animals tend to be most active around feeding—diurnal species are most active during the day while nocturnal animals are most active at night. But remember: most habitats at the zoo include behind-the-scenes areas, and the animals can choose where to spend their time.
Do I need a ticket to attend ZooLights?
Yes. ZooLights tickets cost $5 per guest. Every member of your party must be accounted for, including infants and children. Only the guests included in the ticket order will be allowed to enter the zoo.
What is a Holiday Experience ticket?
Holiday experiences at ZooLights, listed under the “Ticketed Experiences” section of this page, require an additional cost. Guests are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance. Limited tickets will be available at Landmark Café, the zoo’s Gift Shop, and the Hot Chocolate stand at Park Place Café near the Light Maze.
Holiday Experience tickets cost $3 for one ticket, $27 for 10 tickets, and $51 for 20 tickets.
Can I use Holiday Experience tickets to enter the zoo?
No. Holiday Experience tickets are only used to enjoy various attractions once inside ZooLights To enter the zoo, you must buy an entry ticket.
Can Holiday Experience tickets be purchased on site?
Yes. However, the process is less timely in person and requires a person-to-person transaction. We strongly encourage all guests to purchase their Holiday Experience tickets in advance.
Can tickets be traded, transferred, or refunded and what happens if it rains on the day of my reservation?
The zoo and all holiday experiences will remain open rain or shine. Holiday Experience tickets can be transferred between people, but all tickets are non-refundable.
Entry tickets are non-transferrable. The name on the reservation must match the guest to ensure accuracy in case of the need for contact tracing.
What if my date is sold out?
If your preferred date is sold out, you can join the zoo to access additional tickets available exclusively to members (and get year-round perks, like free parking). You can also simply check back at a later date to see if tickets have become available; additional reservations are released every Sunday and Thursday at 4 p.m. Central Time.
Lincoln Park Zoo reserves the right to increase or reduce the number of tickets available on any given date or time based on operational abilities and/or City and State guidelines.
Do I have to arrive right at the time I booked? What if I’m late?
Please arrive at the zoo at the specific time you choose. You may enter anytime during the half-hour window on your ticket (for example, if you booked at 4 p.m., you may arrive between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.). If you arrive at another time, you may not be guaranteed entry.
Is there a limit to how long I can stay?
No. There is no formal limit to visit time. Most guests stay for about an hour.
Do I have to wear a face covering?
Yes. All zoo guests over the age of 2 should wear a face covering unless medically unable, especially near popular animal habitats, food and retail kiosks, and restrooms. This helps protect other guests, zoo staff, volunteers, and the animals in our care
Where can I park to attend ZooLights?
Guests who wish to drive can pay to park in the Lincoln Park Zoo lot on Cannon Drive. For additional information and pricing, please visit lpzoo.org/visit. Lincoln Park Zoo is also accessible by public transportation. Due to traffic, public transportation is highly recommended.
Will there be food or beverages for sale?
Yes. Food will be available at the following locations at Lincoln Park Zoo during ZooLights hours: Park Place Café Terrace, Eadie Levy’s Landmark Café, Safari Café, Snack & Drink Quick Stops, and the Patio at Café Brauer. All cafes accept cash and credit. While we will have several ATMs on site, we encourage you to minimize hand-to-hand transactions by using credit cards.