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Holiday Cheer Returns to the LA Zoo

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

Los Angeles |CA 

November 16, 2018, through Sunday, January 6, 2019, the Los Angeles Zoo transforms into a holiday wonderland, set aglow with LED lights by the thousands, creating a festive atmosphere complete with Santa and a herd of real reindeer, one of the few places that Angelenos will be able to see real reindeer this season In addition to up-close views, guests will get to learn more about the herd from expert reindeer keepers and visit  with Santa in a charming, rustic North Pole outpost (for an additional fee) 

Los Angeles’ preeminent holiday event, L.A. ZOO LIGHTS, returns for its fifth spectacular year and promises to be bigger, brighter and merrier than ever, (every evening except November 22, December 24, 24).  The award-winning, brilliant display of lights and animation, will shine bright nightly for seven dazzling weeks. Guests can stroll the expansive grounds and delight in a disco ball forest, whimsical 3-D animations, a glowing “Northern Lights” featuring animal constellations that come to life, and so much more. For the first time ever, the L.A. Zoo Lights experience will include picturesque Elephant Circle, which will be transformed into a kaleidoscopic savanna where glowing, large-scale animals roam. Its popular Twinkle Tunnel will double in size and feature cascading swirls of light and a spectacular finale. Other favorites like the dynamic holiday tree at the entrance, the animated elephant herd, and the dramatic water show are all reimagined, with stunning new visuals and music. This light spectacular is on display from 6 to 10 pm nightly, with Santa visits available November 16 to 18, November 23 to 25, and November 30 through December 23 (for an additional fee). L.A. Zoo Lights 2018 features a “Preview Week” with $12 discount admission for adults (13+) and children (2-12) from November 16 to 21, with online purchase. (A convenience fee applies for all online purchases.) 

Returning this year are “L.A. ZOO LIGHTS VIP EXPERIENCES,” including two exclusive HOLIDAY HAPPY HOURS for the 21-and-over crowd, as well as a FAMILY NEW YEAR’S EVE for all ages. Exclusive HOLIDAY HAPPY HOURS include a German-themed “Bavaria Haus Holiday” happy hour on Thursday, December 6 and tropical-themed “Tiki Tidings” happy hour on Thursday, December 13. Both evenings feature express entry to L.A. Zoo Lights at 6 pm and access to a private lounge from 6:30 to 8:30 pm with gourmet hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine and a themed signature cocktail, after which guests are welcome to experience L.A. Zoo Lights until closing at 10 pm. On December 31, guests of the FAMILY NEW YEAR’S EVE can enjoy dinner, dessert, drinks, games, a DJ dance party, carousel ride, and live broadcast of New York’s Times Square ball drop.

Friday, November 16, 2018 - Sunday, January 6

"Reindeer Romp"  takes place daily (except December 25) from November 17 through December 23 plus Friday, November 23, 11 am to 3 pm, with a variety of photo packages available. All Reindeer Romp activities except Santa photos are free with paid Zoo admission. Also included with paid Zoo admission are daily close-up animal encounters, intriguing shows, holiday crafts, talks and guided experiences, training demonstrations, and more. For details and to purchase tickets, visit  

The merriment continues with two exclusive HOLIDAY HAPPY HOURS for the 21-and-over crowd in December, as well as a FAMILY NEW YEAR’S EVE for all ages.  

Admission to L.A. Zoo Lights is $12 with online purchase for all ages (2 and older) during “Preview Week” from November 16 to 21. Thereafter, admission prices vary and range from $14.95 to $21.95 for adults (13+) and $11.95 to $16.95 for children (2-12). Children under age 2 are free. Tickets for members of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association are $11 during the entire run, which is up to 50 percent off. Tickets for HOLIDAY HAPPY HOUR are $75 per person (ages 21 and up), or $70 for GLAZA members. FAMILY NEW YEAR’S EVE tickets are $69 for adults (13+) and $45 for children (2-12), or $64 and $40 for GLAZA members. All L.A. Zoo Lights events and evenings take place on a “rain-or-shine” basis, with no rain checks issued.

Admission to the Los Angeles Zoo is $21 for general admission (ages 13 to 61), $18 for seniors (ages 62+), and $16 for children (ages 2 to 12). No ticket is required for children under 2. Admission for Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association members is free.  


Visit for details and to purchase tickets. To become a GLAZA member and receive discounted ticket pricing, go to  or call 323-644-4747. 

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