What is new at the Phoenix Zoo ZooLights this year?
Visitors coming to the Phoenix Zoo for ZooLights in 2018 will see live reindeer! How many of us can say we have actually seen reindeer! Imagine seeing the magic of Santa’s little helpers!
Typically the ZooLights attract over 300,000 visitors. This is the largest fundraiser for the Phoenix Zoo. The best time to visit the zoo is the first two weeks of December and the first week of January! Most visitors like to arrive at 5:30 when the ZooLights begin (especially if they have small children to visit the lights and sights and home to bed in time!). If you time your arrival closer to 7:30 PM – 8:00 PM you will find fewer visitors.
Is the Park Handicap Accessible?
The park is fully accessible to everyone. Wheelchairs and strollers alike move easily along the paths of the zoo making the entire park and all the lights accessible to everyone! These are provided on a first-come, first served basis. The rental area can be found to your right as you enter the park, past the turnstiles. You may also bring your own stroller, wheelchair or electric scooter.
December Weather in Phoenix
This year we start the holiday season cooler than normal weather so bundle up put on your hats and gloves and dress warmly. To help you determine the likely temperatures as you stroll the park. To check out local Weather Conditions, CLICK HERE.
Guests will see the magnificent lights as they approach the zoo. You can’t miss the lights projected up and through the trees and bushes, only providing a hint of the enchanted wonderland you are about to enter.
The lights come on at 5:30 pm and stay on until 10:30 pm. ZooLights creative displays include butterflies, lion cubs, hummingbirds and flowers, stingrays, a tiger, and reindeer. Viewers of all ages will find the vast array of breathtaking displays completely engaging. Stroll the grounds and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or apple cider. Listen to the excitement as children see the lights changing colors and light shaped animals come to life. Check out the Zoo website for ticket prices which vary based on anticipated peak attendance nights. Grab your hats and gloves and stroll through the Phoenix ZooLights. Make this a family holiday tradition. (Purchase tickets online and save money!) Note that prices vary by date. Check out the value dates!
The Phoenix Zoo opened in 1962 and is the largest privately owned, non-profit zoo in the United States. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, the zoo was founded by Robert Maytag, a member of the Maytag family, and operates on 125 acres of land in the Papago Park area of Phoenix. Zoolghts is the zoo’s largest fundraiser of the year and proceeds go to care for the 1400 animals who call the Phoenix zoo their home.
Where to eat dinner near the Phoenix Zoo
Make the ZooLights part of an evening out! Consider visiting one of the several restaurants near the Phoenix zoo before your evening out, or end the evening with a nice dinner after visiting the ZooLights. There are several great restaurants in the area offering a wide variety of menu selections.
Check out the 15 area Restaurants within 2 miles of the Zoo.
What is there to see? You will enjoy the traditional favorites such as the swinging primate, Komodo dragon, and elephants, lion and giraffe families. You will also see sculptures such as a beehive surrounded by bees and a stream of alligators, hippos, and antelope throughout the zoo.
The pride of lions on the roof of Savanna Grill has grown with the addition of a lioness, lion, and lion-cub sculptures.
To see my Blog on my other Top Holiday light displays / and individual Homes in the Phoenix area see Best Christmas Light Displays in the East Valley.
ZooLights continues its tradition of adding new sculptures and lights each year. In honor of the new tiger habitat, ZooLights will have a 3-D tiger sculpture. Other new 3-D and 4-D sculptures include flowers, a hummingbird, and stingrays.
Holiday scenes of gumdrops, gingerbread men and lollipops will delight all ages as you walk around the zoo.
On the Tropics Trail, illuminated balls cause changing colors to reflect on the palm trees. Palm trees that are lit up are the center for many local Phoenix residents as they enjoy the mix of tropical palms as these trees that light up in the desert evening. You will notice zooLights projected on the trees and ground to create a lighted view all over the zoo.
When you are ready to rest a bit, you can take a ride on the Carousel and enjoy the holiday music and lights as you ride round and round! Children delight in riding their favorite animals and watching the sparkling lights! Parents will enjoy a respite and smile at the joy on their children’s faces as they ride the carousel round and round!
While strolling through the zoo you will delight in this years “Music in Motion”. You will see trees around the lake, a dozen floating light towers along with a 24-foot glowing sphere on the lake. These are synchronized to the Winter Palace and music from the Polar Express. The music playing throughout the park varies from traditional holiday music to a delightful symphony music. In a brilliant light display around the water, the lights on the trees change with the music making for a wonderful display that will take your breath away.
Will I see the Zoo Animals?
As you stroll through the ZooLights, you may be able to catch the local residents coming out to see you! The ducks are roaming along the path by the water hoping for a few treats. The otters are swimming and approaching the banks as they gaze at the evening visitors staring back at them in amazement! Many of the other animals are nocturnal so may not come out to play!
Throughout the zoo, you will find beverages for everyone! Coffee, Hot Chocolate and “Adult” beverages are available along with popcorn and other snack foods. Sit and enjoy the lights from many vantage points throughout the park as you enjoy your snacks and pause to take in the colorful lights that range from red and green to pink and purple!
As you exit the park don’t forget to check out the holiday merchandise you can buy with a zoo theme or the zoo gift shop. Why not give a unique Christmas gift, lovingly selected with your friends in mind. Your purchase helps support the zoo and you leave with a unique holiday gift.
This is a great time of year to visit the Phoenix zoo and enjoy the thousands of light displays. With snacks, drinks and a stop at the gift shop, you will create a memorable evening at the Phoenix Zoo and delights in this year’s new Phoenix ZooLight displays!