ZooLights electrifies Jacksonville Zoo for holidays

Annual zoo event uses lights, cool weather festivities to brighten holiday

By Francine Frazier - Senior web producer

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - If Christmas lights brighten up your holiday, take a walk on the wild side at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens for the annual ZooLights event.

ZooLights has quickly become a not-to-be-missed family favorite in Jacksonville that includes cool weather festivities, such as sipping hot chocolate, roasting marshmallows for s’mores, taking a ride on the illuminated train and getting a holiday picture with Santa.

ZooLights will light up the zoo from Dec. 7-9 and Dec. 14-Jan. 5 (closed Christmas Day).

ZooLights kicks off Thursday with a VIP dinner and sneak peek of the lights, but that event is already sold out, showing just how popular the annual illumination experience is.

This year, ZooLights is debuting the Jingle Bell Jukebox Revue to help celebrate the holiday spirit. A nightly show of lively, festive songs performed by local artists will take place on the Great Lawn. 

Guests can also give back to the community by participating in the food drive for Feeding Northeast Florida, a nonprofit community food bank. The drive will be hosted the first weekend of ZooLights, Dec. 7-9. For every three perishable food items brought to the Zoo, a $5 off coupon will be issued for a ZooLights ticket valid for the first weekend only.

Guests can wear their favorite footie pajamas Dec. 7-9 for a family-friendly Pajama Party, or their best tacky Christmas sweater Dec. 21-23. Star Wars night will be Saturday, Jan. 5.

ZooLights is presented by Community First Credit Union. The zoo will continue to have regular park hours each day, closing at 5 p.m., and re-opening at 6 p.m. for ZooLights, which is a separately ticketed event.

Admission starts at $8 for members, $10 for non-members, and children ages 2 and younger are free.

Members can take advantage of Member Appreciation Nights Dec. 17-20 with only $5 admission and extended shopping hours in the gift shops. 

Also available is a Total Experience Ticket which includes admission, train rides, 4D Theatre, and carousel. Parking is free. 

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