Winter Wonders at the Zoo

Sabrina Cynova
November 18, 2021
Sabrina Cynova
November 18, 2021
Every winter, Lincoln Park Zoo transforms into a dazzling wonderland, bringing seasonal joy and magic to all of Chicago— along with millions of sparkling lights!

Celebrate the holiday season at the 27th Annual ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ. New this year, enjoy sensory-friendly visit times, new lighting concepts on the Main Mall and South Lawn, an enhanced Enchanted Forest experience, and a stunning 18-foot holiday tree at Pepper Family Wildlife Center.

‘Tis the Season for ZooLights

Chicago’s cherished holiday tradition returns. For the 27th year, ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ will light up Lincoln Park Zoo with millions of dazzling lights!

To ensure all attendees have a safe and memorable experience, capacity is limited and tickets are required. Tickets are $5 per person Wednesday–Sunday and are free Mondays and Tuesdays throughout the ZooLights season. All ticket sales support the zoo’s world-class animal care, global conservation efforts, and innovative learning programs.

There’s ‘snow’ many new elements at ZooLights this year. Be sure to catch a glimpse of the stunning 18-foot holiday tree at Pepper Family Wildlife Center and spot the new lighting concepts on the Main Mall and South Lawn. In addition, enjoy an enhanced Enchanted Forest experience. The zoo is also offering sensory-friendly visit times on November 29 and December 15 from 4–6 p.m. During these special times, music and blinking or moving lights will remain static or turned off.

Make the most out of your ZooLights adventure and receive your holiday fill with several add-on experiences. Twist and turn your way through a dazzling path at Light Maze Presented by Invesco QQQ. Or, step into a magical Enchanted Forest at Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo, where you’ll be enveloped by flowers, mushrooms, and dripping lights. Each add-on holiday experience costs $3 per person to enter. Free to enter this year, the zoo’s over-the-top holiday-themed pop up bar, Snowy’s Spirits & S’more, returns to offer available-for-purchase festive cocktails, sweet treats of all kinds, and the chance to roast s’mores.

Learn more about ZooLights or secure your ticket at

Celebrating the Season?

Light Up the Lawn! Each evening at 4:30 p.m., guests can “flip the switch” on the south lawn light show, Winter Wonderlawn. For availability and pricing, contact

Melting for Members!

Members are worth melting for. Did you know Lincoln Park Zoo members receive free exclusive access to ZooLights on two Members-Only Nights? On Friday, November 19 and Monday, December 13, members have the zoo to themselves to roam around and enjoy the dazzling lights. Plus, members receive discounts on all holiday happenings throughout the season and receive access to regular night ZooLights tickets a week before the general public.

Not a member? Join today at

Holiday Happenings

In addition to ZooLights this year, the zoo is hosting several cheerful events sure to rouse your holiday spirit!

Have a ‘beer-y’ fun time at BrewLights Presented by Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. on Thursday, December 2. Hosted by the zoo’s Auxiliary Board and set against the backdrop of millions of sparkling lights, this craft beer festival is one-of-a-kind.

Back by popular demand, The Chris White Trio Tribute to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” returns to fill Café Brauer with soulful music. Tap your toes during this jazz tribute to the holiday classic on Sunday, December 12.

Calling all “glow-n”-ups! This one’s for you. Adults Night Out: Holidaze makes for the perfect date night, evening on the town, or excuse to spend time with friends. On Thursday, December 16, stroll zoo grounds with hot chocolate, mulled wine, or beer in hand—all while enjoying the magnificent light displays.

And last but not least, toast to the new year at Zoo Year’s Eve. Ring in 2022 at the zoo with plenty of sparkling lights, s’mores by the fire at Snowy’s Spirits & S’more, and champagne at midnight.

These ticketed events help keep Lincoln Park Zoo free and open to all. Learn more and buy tickets at

Faire La Fête

Thinking of popping the question, or looking to host a holiday celebration? The zoo offers unforgettable holiday packages for those looking for a unique and intimate way to celebrate the season. Contact for more information.

Treats for All

Spread holiday joy this season with unique gifts. From one-of-a-kind ornaments to ADOPTing your favorite species, pick out the perfect present for friends and family.

The Gift of Membership

It’s the gift the keeps on giving! Zoo members enjoy invitations to exclusive members-only events, free or discounted parking, and deals on programs and events all year-round.

See membership options at

Merry and Bright

‘Tis the season for tradition. Annual ornaments from the zoo return, celebrating the opening of Pepper Family Wildlife Center. Choose between a porcelain-painted red panda and a brass ornament featuring the majestic African lion. Be sure to check out these ornaments and the rest of the holiday stocking stuffers at the zoo’s Gift Shop.

ADOPT an Animal

Support wildlife this holiday giving season with a symbolic zoo animal adoption for family and friends. Provide world-class care to playful polar bears Siku and Talini at Walter Family Arctic Tundra or to the charismatic new African lions, snow leopards, and red pandas at Pepper Family Wildlife Center. Each ADOPT comes with a certificate, magnetic photo frame, and fun fact sheet.

View the full list of species at

Wish List

Animal Care staff have been making a list and checking it twice, and all the residents at the zoo have been nice! Shop the zoo’s Wish List to purchase an enrichment item or snack (or two!) for the species at the zoo.

See the full Wish List at

Holiday Greetings

Snail mail has never looked better! Spread some seasonal cheer with a one-of-a-kind Lincoln Park Zoo holiday card. The card celebrates the opening of the new state-of-the-art lion habitat, Pepper Family Wildlife Center, and is available for purchase at the zoo’s Gift Shop.