ZooLights Returns to Lincoln Park Zoo, Requires Tickets

With financial challenges due to the pandemic, Lincoln Park Zoo is charging $5 per person for ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ beginning Nov. 20

Chicago (September 17, 2020)— A cherished Chicago holiday tradition, Lincoln Park Zoo’s 26th annual ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ returns this November! Due to financial challenges presented by the pandemic, the zoo has made the difficult decision, after more than 20 years, to return to ZooLights being a ticketed event. Tickets are $5 per person. Tickets for zoo members go on sale Sept. 24, and tickets for the general public open at 10 a.m. on Oct. 1.

“Despite the loss of revenue this year brought on by the pandemic, we couldn’t fathom a Chicago winter without the joy of ZooLights,” said Zoo Director Megan Ross, Ph.D. “The pandemic has left us financially vulnerable. We are so grateful to our sponsors, ComEd and Invesco QQQ, for helping cover the cost of producing ZooLights, but unfortunately we are not in a position to staff and operate the extended hours with the limited capacity of visitors required based on state guidelines without some public investment. We are charging a nominal admission in order to help us break even and still bring this beloved holiday tradition to the zoo.”

Ross continued, “The zoo values being free to all when we can, and we understand many Chicagoans are facing financial difficulties as well. As such, five nights of ZooLights will remain free for the public to attend.”

In addition to the dazzling lights at ZooLights, guests can partake in several special activities throughout the season both at home and at the zoo: Free Members-Only Nights (Nov. 20 and Dec. 1), Virtual ZooLights Challenge (beginning Nov. 27), Adults Night Out: Holidaze! (Dec. 10), and Chris White Trio Tribute to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (Dec. 13). A full schedule of holiday happenings is available at lpzoo.org/events.

All holiday happenings will have limited reservations or tickets available in accordance with City and State guidelines.


A Chicago holiday tradition, ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ illuminates the zoo with dazzling lights and dynamic displays. Enjoy a twinkling winter wonderland complete with festive activities, such as socially-distant visits with Santa, a holiday pop-up bar, an Enchanted Forest, Light Maze Presented by Invesco QQQ, sweet treats of all kinds, and much more!

Tickets for ZooLights are $5 per person (all ages, including infants, require a ticket) and will be available to the public beginning at 10 a.m. on October 1 via EventBrite.

Lincoln Park Zoo members have access to a ZooLights pre-sale from September 24-30. In addition, zoo members will have two free member-only nights on November 20 and December 1. Not a member? Join the zoo at lpzoo.org/membership to unlock these perks as well as members-only reservation times at the zoo daily.

ZooLights runs from 4 to 10 p.m. on Nov. 21-23, 25, 27-30, Dec. 2, 4-8, 11-16, 18-20, 22-23, 26-28, 30-31, and Jan. 1-3.


ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ will be FREE on Nov. 24, and Dec. 9, 17, 21 and 29. Reservations to attend these free nights are required. Reservations will be released the Sunday prior to the event date at 4 p.m. via EventBrite. All regular ZooLights hours and happenings apply.


These experiences are only available on zoo grounds during ZooLights, which requires a ticket or reservation depending on the date.

Light Maze Presented by Invesco QQQ takes guests on an enlightening journey! Twist and turn through this year’s dazzling Light Maze, a beautifully lit path sure to rouse holiday spirits. This ticketed experience returns to the zoo for a fourth year and will run every night of ZooLights. One ticket ($3) required per guest.

New this year, Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo transforms into an Enchanted Forest. This limited-capacity experience features whimsical atmosphere, made complete by music, smoke machines, twinkle lights, and mirrors. One ticket ($3) required per guest.

Snowy’s Spirits & S’more returns for a second year! At this over-the-top holiday-themed pop up bar, sip on festive cocktails and hot drinks, as well as devour sweet treats of all kinds. Warm up over a bustling fire and purchase a s’more kit for a toasty snack. One ticket ($3) required per guest for entry.

Guests who visit any of the above experiences during ZooLights will receive special 3D Holospex® Glasses at each experience to enhance their viewing of the lights.


Adults Night Out: Holidaze! on Dec. 10 gives guests ages 18 years and older exclusive entry to the zoo for evening hours. Enjoy dazzling lights, seasonal drinks at Snowy’s Spirits & S’more pop-up bar, and an Enchanted Forest! Adults Night Out takes place from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Tickets start at $15 (10% off for Lincoln Park Zoo members). Food and drink are available for purchase.

The Chris White Trio Tribute to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is back for an encore! Guests will tap their toes during this soulful jazz tribute to a favorite holiday classic. In person tickets will be limited and include one complimentary drink. Virtual admission will be new this year. This musical evening takes place at 7 p.m. on Dec. 13. Tickets are $35 for general admission and $15 for virtual admission (10% off for Lincoln Park Zoo members).

New this year, stay active this winter with ZooLights Virtual Challenge. 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). From Nov. 27- Jan. 3, complete the distance of your choice at your own pace. Participant swag varies by registration package.

BrewLights Presented by Louis Glunz Beer Inc. and hosted by the zoo’s Auxiliary Board will return virtually for another year of holiday cheer on Dec. 3! Be sure to check out lpzoo.org/events often as details about the new format will be announced soon.


Thinking of popping the question? Or looking to host a group of 50 or less for a small holiday celebration? The zoo offers unforgettable holiday packages for those looking for a unique and intimate way to celebrate the season with indoor/outdoor access, built-in safety infrastructure, and festive fun for corporate or social groups.

Interested parties can find out more by contacting the zoo’s Private Events Department at groupsales@lpzoo.org.

Proceeds from ZooLights and accompanying holiday happenings will benefit Lincoln Park Zoo’s world-class animal care, innovative learning programs, and worldwide conservation initiatives, as well as help keep the zoo free and open throughout the year. Learn more at lpzoo.org.

About Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo inspires communities to create environments where wildlife will thrive in our urbanizing world. The zoo is a leader in local and global conservation, animal care and welfare, learning, and science. A historic Chicago landmark founded in 1868, Lincoln Park Zoo is a privately managed, member-supported nonprofit organization and is free and open 365 days a year. Visit us at lpzoo.org.