Denver Zoo Map
November 22, 2016


Weekend to offer sneak peek of region’s largest lighting event week before it opens to the public

Denver Zoo is hosting a special Zoo Lights Preview Weekend on November 25 and 26, from 5:30 to 9 p.m., a full week before the 26th annual event opens to the public. Guests will be get a sneak peek of all the event has to offer, including 60 brilliantly-illuminated acres of lights, featuring more than 150 animated animal sculptures, and plenty of festive entertainment. Admission for each night of the weekend, without a discount, is $17 for adults (12-64), $12 for children (3-11), $14 for senior citizens (65+). Children 2 and under are free. Zoo Lights, presented by Your Hometown Toyota Stores, will then run nightly from December 2, 2016-January 1, 2017, from 5:30-9 p.m.

Zoo Lights is the Rocky Mountain Region’s largest lighting event and promises a time like no other in Colorado. Festivities will include chances to meet Santa Claus, live animal demonstrations, ice carvers, jugglers, carolers, singing princesses, instrumental groups, delicious holiday treats at warming stations throughout the zoo and the ever-popular Zoo Year’s Eve party.

This year, the event will even incorporate the Zoo’s traveling exhibit, “Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea,” presented by CH2M, which features 15 giant sculptures of marine life around the park made almost entirely from trash collected from beaches. Each of them will be lit for night-viewing and, for many guests, it will be a last chance to see them before the exhibit ends on January 16, 2017. Zoo Lights’ “Under the Sea” section, which includes lighted sculptures of sea creatures, will grow in size this year and move to the Zoo’s main gate.

Denver Zoo is now offering Value Night pricing, from December 2 to 15, to encourage guests to visit Zoo Lights on nights that are traditionally not as crowded. These reduced admission nights will offer an experience with fewer lines and more available parking, but still offer all the same experiences guests will receive on a Peak Night.

Admission for Value Nights, without a discount, is $13 for adults (12-64), $9 for children (3-11), $11 for senior citizens (65+) and children 2 and under are free.

From December 16 to January 1, admission will increase for Peak Nights to $17 for adults (12-64), $12 for children (3-11), $14 for senior citizens (65+). Children 2 and under are still admitted free. The Zoo will also run a shuttle during these nights, from the 40th and Colorado light rail station, to encourage guests to take alternative transportation.

Members get a $2 discount on all tickets. The Zoo will also offer a $2 online discount on all tickets to help guests avoid long lines. For more information on Zoo Lights, please call Denver Zoo at 720-337-1400 or visit

Zoo Lights is the largest lighting event in the Rocky Mountain Region and the largest annual event hosted by Denver Zoo. It takes Zoo staff members three months to set up the 60 acres of lights and displays and almost the same amount of time and manpower to dismantle them. 

Zoo Lights Special Events lineup:

  • PREVIEW WEEKEND                                                                  NOV. 25 & 26

Be among the first guests to enjoy this year’s Zoo Lights event at the special preview weekend, right after Thanksgiving.

  • BUNK WITH THE BEASTS                                                          NOV. 19 & 31    

Our regular Bunk with the Beasts program lights up with holiday cheer. Get a sneak peek as a family at the “Wild Lights, Wild Winter” Family Bunk on November 19 or ring in the new year at the “Zoo Year’s Eve Kids-Only” Bunk on December 31. Explore how wild animals adapt to winter habitats, enjoy Zoo Lights, and then, just like our animal residents, sleep overnight at the zoo! Sign up at or contact Denver Zoo at or 720-337-1400.

  • LIVE ANIMAL DEMONSTRATIONS                                            NOV. 25-26, DEC. 2 – JAN. 1

    Get up close and even touch animals from around the world inside Benson Predator Ridge on every night throughout Zoo Lights!

  • WILD ICE                                                                                  NOV. 25-26, DEC. 2 - 4, 8 - 11, 15 – 18, 20 – 23, 29 - JAN. 1

    Visit a special ice carving garden, filled with animal sculptures created by Santa's helpers with power tools, with a special focus this year on sea creatures.

  • VISITS WITH SANTA                                                                DEC. 2-23            

    Naughty and nice children alike can bring their Christmas wish lists right to Santa and take a picture with the big guy himself before he flies home for his annual trip! 

  • CELEBRATE KWANZAA                                                             DEC. 26-30          

    Denver Zoo will celebrate this African cultural holiday with music, entertainment and activities.

  • ZOO YEAR’S EVE                                                                      DEC. 31

    Join us on December 31, 2016 for Zoo Year's Eve during our Zoo Lights celebration. The evening features fun activities for the entire family and an early New Year's Eve countdown at 9 p.m. so your little ones can enjoy the holiday and still get home for bed early.