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 51st 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:
Arrive before 5pm to find parking and visit with your favorite furry friends before the evening festivities begin. We have more parking with free shuttle service to our new South Lot off Harding Street. Plus, free timed tickets help you plan your visit with Santa in his study. Pick them up at the Front Gate or any ticket booth.
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.
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 Jay's Moving Co.
Santa has decided to spend more time at the Zoo during Christmas at the Zoo — he always has so many kiddos to meet! Get your free timed ticket to visit with Santa in his study daily from Nov. 23-Dec. 23. As Christmas draws nearer, he will start his day a few hours early, and you can also see Santa in the White River Garden’s Rotunda right in front of the Christmas tree. Photo packages are available in both locations.
Nov. 23-Dec. 23
Daily from 5pm until the Zoo closes in Santa’s Study in the Bicentennial Pavilion
Daily from 12:30-4pm in the White River Garden Rotunda
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.
If your cheeks start to get rosy, dash inside to enjoy the animals in Oceans, Deserts, St. Vincent Dolphin Pavilion and the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center. The Hilbert Conservatory in White River Gardens will also be open from noon-5pm each day.
Christmas at the Zoo is free for members and included with Zoo admission. Purchase discount tickets at Donatos and Teachers Credit Union locations. Donate a new hat, scarf or gloves to the Mitten Tree for St. Mary’s Child Center and receive $1 off admission for up to four guests. Or save when you buy advance tickets online.Buy Tickets
We need for volunteers ages 16 and older to help bring Christmas at the Zoo to life. Assignments include Campfire Hosts, Mirror Maze Attendant, Santa’s Study Assistant and Santa’s Village Greeter. Volunteer for at least three shifts and receive a free “Cup of Cheer” for complimentary hot beverage refills!
The Indianapolis Zoo is a 501(c)(3) organization.