Christmas at the Zoo presented by Donatos and Teachers Credit Union

​Nov. 23-Dec. 30 (closed Dec. 24-25) • 5-9pm (until 10pm Fridays-Saturdays)

The tradition of Christmas at the Zoo presented by Donatos and Teachers Cre​dit Union is now bigger than ever. In 2017, we added thousands more lights as well as the enchanted, new Santa's Village under the Bicentennial Pavilion. The whimsical wintertime scenes feel as if you've stepped inside a snow globe!  

A visit to Christmas at the Zoo is unlike any other, as we bring together the best of the holiday season with a "wild" twist! As the sun sets over White River State Park, enjoy the warm glow of twinkling lights, creating a magical nighttime experience. 

Several of the Zoo's hardiest will stay up late to enjoy the cooler nights, including sea lions, walrus, tigers, red panda, brown bears and more! Plus, see all of the animals in our indoor exhibits, including Oceans, the Dolphin Dome, Deserts, and the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center (Note: Desert animals and orangutans may go to sleep once the sun sets). Come early to visit the beautiful Hilbert Conservatory from noon-5pm.

You and your loved ones can easily stay warm venturing between indoor buildings, sipping on hot beverages as you stroll among the lights, or sitting by our two campfire locations.

USA Today's 10 Best Zoo Lights

​For the third-straight year, Christmas at the Zoo has been ranked in the top five of USA Today's 10 Best Zoo Lights! Plan your visit now​ and see why we're consistently ranked among the nation's best. 

Be Part of the Tradition! 

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. This year, make brand new memories with your family as you explore our all-new Santa's Village and enjoy thousands more lights and displays, like the brilliant Tunnel of Lights!

Plan Your Night Out 

The Zoo opens at noon and special activities go from 5-9pm, with new extended hours from 5-10pm on Fridays and Saturdays​. Come early to grab a great parking spot, visit with the animals and watch as the lights come on at dusk to transform the Zoo into a winter ​wonderland.

​Santa's Village

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

    • Visits with Santa are free with photo packages available for those wanting pictures.
    • Please be in line by 9pm to visit with Santa.
  • Mrs. Claus' Kitchen features free visits with Mrs. Claus through Dec. 23.  A concession is available for those wanting to decorate at cookie.

  • Santa's Barn is home ot a few of Santa's reindeer as they prepare for their big night.
  • The Snowflakery mirror maze will be fun to navigate with wintery scene to the left, right, front and back!
  • Peppermint Twist beverage hut will make it easy to warm up or refill a Cup of Cheer (unlimited hot drink cup)
  • Season's Gifting hut will have fun gifts to give or receive.
  • The Mistletoe Kisses Gazebo offers a picturesque place to find one of 10 hidden mistletoes with a special surprise inside!
  • Across the main path, find the South Pole where a few penguins from Oceans will come out for a visit (weather permitting).

Holiday Lights

  • Thousands more lights have been added this year. Don't miss the new Tunnel of Lights at the Bicentennial Pavilion!

  • All holiday lights are 100 percent LED energy efficient! Holiday LED lights are presented by Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent​​

  • We Three Trees presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers in Flights of Fancy


  • All-A-Glow Light Show ​at the Kroger Splash Park

  • Christmas Tree Joy Light Display along the main path

School Choirs (before Christmas)

Find the Mistletoe

  • ​​Be on the lookout for up to 10 mistletoes and register inside the main 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 Flights of Fancy offers gourmet goodies

  • Peppermint Twist beverage hut within Santa's Village (under the Bicentennial Pavilion)

  • Cookie decorating in Mrs. Claus' Kitchen within Santa's Village (under the Bicentennial Pavilion)

  • 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 Opportunities*

  • Front Gate as you enter

  • Santa Study within Santa's Village (under the Bicentennial Pavilion)

  • Sleigh in Santa's Village (under the Bicentennial Pavilion) 


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 Donatos and T​eachers Credit Union locations.

  • Save on admission by purchasing advance tickets online.

  • Receive $1 off admission for up to four people when you donate a new hat, scarf or gloves for the Mitten Tree that supports our local St. Mary's Child Center.

*Requires additional charge. ​​

Thanks to our sponsors: