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Christmas at the Zoo presented by Teachers Credit Union and Donatos

Nov. 25-27, 30; Dec. 1-4, 7-11, 14-23, 26-30 ​• Festivities from 5-9 pm • Zoo opens at noon

Surround yourself with the magic and beauty of the holiday season during Christmas at the Zoo presented by Teachers Cre​dit Union​ and Donatos​! The Zoo is open from noon to 9pm Wednesday to Sunday​, with event activities starting at 5pm. Come early to grab a great parking spot, see some animals and watch as the lights come on to transform the Zoo into a winter ​wonderland. You'll see some changes happening near the front of our Zoo this year due to the exciting work on our Bicentennial Pavilion project, so check your map​ to find all your favorite festivities! 

USA Today's 10 Best Zoo Lights

We're excited to announce that for a second-straight year, we've been nominated for USA Today's 10 Best Zoo Lights​In 2015, Christmas at the Zoo finished in the top five in this nationwide readers' choice contest. Help us reach the top this year!

Vote Now​​​

Dating back to 1967, the Indianapolis Zoo was the first zoo in the United States to hold a holiday lights event. Now in its 49th year, Christmas at the Zoo has become a favorite for many guests. At every twist and turn you're sure to enjoy the sparkling twinkle of 100 percent LED light displays that will adorn Zoo grounds, making Christmas at the Zoo a great place to create holiday memories!

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 presented by Carrier, walrus, tigers, red panda, brown bears and more! You and your loved ones can sip on hot beverages as you stroll around to see the lights, or enjoy delicious seasonal treats while you sit by our two campfire locations. Plus see all of the animals in our indoor exhibits, including the Deserts Dome, Dolphin Dome, Oceans and the new Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center. 

​Stop By to See Santa in White River Gardens

  • Santa's Workshop presented by Chick-fil-A features free visits with Santa through Dec. 23 (great photo packages available*).

  • Decorate cookies* with help from Mrs. Claus in Mrs. Claus' Kitchen.

  • Write letters to Santa and thank-you letters after Christmas.

  • Enjoy Santa's Tropical Paradise and a scavenger hunt presented by USA Insulation​​ inside the Hilbert Conservatory.

Holiday Lights

Carolers (before Christmas)

  • Traditional carolers singing around the back campfire from 6-8pm. TIP: Come ready to request your favorite holiday songs!

  • Performances by local school choirs (at Café on the Commons). Find the choir performance schedule here​. 

Find the Mistletoe

  • ​​Be on the lookout for up to 10 mistletoes and register inside the Gift Shop to win one of two Animal Art Adventures.

  • TIP: Find at least five mistletoes to enter.

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!

Rides*

Great Gifts* that Support the Zoo

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 Teachers Credit Union and Donatos locations.

  • Save on admission by purchasing advance tickets online.

  • Receive $1 off admission for up to four people when you 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. ​​