Dating back to 1967, the Indianapolis Zoo was the first zoo in the nation to hold a holiday lights event. Year after year, Christmas at the Zoo presented by Donatos and Teachers Credit Union continues to grow. For our 52nd year, we’re adding even more lights to fill the Zoo with a warm glow. And the best part is it’s all included with regular admission!
Under the Bicentennial Pavilion, Santa’s Village is one of our newest additions. Here, you’ll discover:
What an honor! We're nominated for USA TODAY 10Best Zoo Lights — our sixth straight year. Please vote every day through Dec. to help Christmas at the Zoo reach the top.
Christmas at the Zoo has been voted in the top five of USA Today’s 10 Best Zoo Lights for three years in a row! Plan your visit now and see why we are consistently ranked among the nation’s best.
A wintertime visit to the Zoo is unlike any other you’ll experience. Come out early to watch the Zoo transform at sunset, when the warm glow of twinkling lights fills the night sky. Pose with your family and friends near one of our featured displays, like Christmas Tree Joy presented by Honda Manufacturing along the main path and We Three Trees presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers located in Flights of Fancy.
Planning a couple’s night out? Come later — we’re open until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays — for a quiet, romantic stroll.
We’re proud to feature 100 percent LED energy-efficient lights and displays presented by Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital Ascension St. Vincent.
Many of our more robust animals will be out late to enjoy the cooler weather, including tigers, red panda, brown bears, walrus, sea lions and more. These species are native to colder climates and can be more active in the winter than during the summer. Plus, special animal chats are a fun way to learn even more about our animals from the experts. Come earlier in the day and you may also see additional animals in Plains and Flights of Fancy. The Hilbert Conservatory in White River Gardens will also be open from noon-5pm each day.
If your cheeks start to get rosy, dash inside to enjoy the animals in Oceans, Deserts, the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center and St. Vincent Dolphin Pavilion. During special dolphin presentations you’ll even hear the familiar voice of radio personality Kristi Lee sharing a festive Zoo version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.
If your holiday lights are no longer shining bright, don't throw them out! Drop them off in the donation bins at our Entry Plaza and we'll recycle them for you free of charge. Holiday light recycling is presented by our friends at Technology Recyclers.
Christmas at the Zoo is free for members and included with Zoo admission. However, timed-entry reservations are required for all guests, including children under age 2.Reserve Your Time
We need for volunteers ages 16 and older to help bring Christmas at the Zoo to life. Assignments include Campfire Hosts and Santa’s Study Assistant. Volunteers receive two complimentary Zoo admission tickets for each volunteer shift during Christmas at the Zoo.
The Indianapolis Zoo is a 501(c)(3) organization.