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 continues to grow. For our 54th year, we’re adding beautiful new décor to enhance your holiday experience. And the best part is it’s all included with regular admission!
Under the Bicentennial Pavilion, you’ll discover Santa’s Village featuring:
Our beloved holiday event is nominated for USA TODAY's 10Best Zoo Lights! Vote daily through Dec. 5 to help us take top honors this year.
Year after year, Christmas at the Zoo has been voted in the top five of USA Today’s 10 Best Zoo Lights! 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. New this year, families can join in the countdown to light up our new animated Merry & Bright Christmas Tree located in front of the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center. Over in Plains, Santa’s Favorite Tree presented by Twinkly will dance to the music of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, creating a perfect photo op for families and friends and or stop by We Three Trees presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers for another fun family photo op.
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.
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.
Many of our more robust animals will be out late to enjoy the cooler weather, including Arctic foxes, tigers, red panda, brown bears, 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 before 4pm and you may also see additional animals in Plains.
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.
Christmas at the Zoo is free for members and included with Zoo general admission.Buy Tickets
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.