Christmas at the Zoo presented by Donatos and Teachers Credit Union

​​5-9pm • Wednesday-Sunday, Nov. 28-Jan. 4, plus Dec. 22 & 23, 29 & 30, 2014

Closed Christmas Day; New Year's Eve & Day

Surround yourself with the magic and beauty of the holiday season as the Indianapolis Zoo hosts its 47th year of Christmas at the Zoo presented by Donatos and Teachers Cre​dit Union. The Zoo opens at noon during Christmas at the Zoo. TIP: Come out before 5pm for a great parking spot and chance to enjoy the animals before the lights come on!

Dating back to 1967, the Indianapolis Zoo was the first zoo in the United States to hold a holiday lights event, and since then, Christmas at the Zoo has become known for its spectacular holiday lights and displays. Christmas at the Zoo is a great place to make holiday memories! Click here to see some of our favorite memories from years past.

A visit to Christmas at the Zoo is unlike any other time of the year as we bring together the best of the holiday season with a "wild" twist! As the sun sets over the White River State Park, enjoy the warm glow of twinkling lights, creating a magical nighttime experience. You'll find yourself eager to celebrate everything the holidays should be … plus animals! Several of the Zoo's hardiest will stay up late to enjoy the cooler nights, including seals and sea lions, polar bear, walrus, tigers, red panda, brown bears and more! You and your loved ones can grab some hot cocoa and enjoy the lights as you go between the Oceans building, indoor to the Dolphin Dome, grab some treats at Café on the Commons and stay warm at two campfires.

Stop By to See Santa

  • Santa's Workshop presented by Chick-fil-A features free visits with Santa (great photo packages available*)

  • Cookie decorating* with Mrs. Claus in Mrs. Claus' Kitchen

  • Letters to Santa

  • Santa's Tropical Paradise

Holiday Lights

Carolers (before Christmas)

  • Performances by local school choirs (at Café on the Commons).

  • Traditional carolers singing around the back campfire. TIP: Come ready to request your favorite holiday songs!

Find the Mistletoe

  • ​​Be on the lookout for up to 10 mistletoes and register to win one of two Dolphin In-Water Adventures. TIP: Not all mistletoes need to be found in order to register.

Delicious Christmas Treats

  • Santa's Sweet Shop near Encounters offers gourmet goodies

  • Santa's First Stop on the main path near the Entry Plaza

  • Mrs. Claus' Kitchen in White River Gardens

  • Zoo fare served at Café on the Commons
    TIP: On a chilly night, a "Cup of Cheer" can be worth its weight in gold. Get free refills on hot beverages all night long at any food service location!​

Memorable Holiday Photo Ops*

  • Front Gate as you enter

  • Santa photos in White River Gardens

  • Sleigh in Oceans

​TIP: Think you're too old for a photo with Santa? The sleigh in Oceans is a great photo op for adults and groups!


​TIP: Coming back next year? Ticket packages are valid for a full year, so you can use a few now and save a few for later!

Great Gifts*

  • Shop the Indianapolis Zoo Gift Shop for amazing animal-themed holiday decorations and the perfect gifts for everyone on your shopping list. Find ornaments, home décor, plush animals, books, games and more!

  • Other great gifts ideas include an Indianapolis Zoo memberships and Animal Amigo!

Christmas at the Zoo admission:

  • Christmas at the Zoo is included with regular admission and free for Zoo members!

  • Discounted tickets are available at participating:

    • Donatos locations

    • Teachers Credit Union locations

  • Save on admission by purchasing advance tickets online or bring a new hat, scarf or glove donation for the Mitten Donation Tree that supports our local St. Mary's Child Center.​​​

*Requires additional charge. ​