December 3, 2019

Zoo Lights: Happenings + Hacks

7 Insider Tips to Maximize the Magic at Denver’s Most Sought-After Holiday Event


Zoo Lights presented by Your Hometown Toyota Stores is transforming Denver Zoo into the city’s wildest winter wonderland, with more than two million lights sparkling over 80 acres. And here’s the best part: the actual lights are just the beginning! We asked a few experienced zoolighters to share their favorite tips for enjoying an unforgettable evening—along with a few insider hacks to save money and avoid hassles.

1. Get your tickets in advance.

We can’t stress this enough: Zoo Lights tickets are NOT available at the gate during Zoo Lights. You’ll need to buy tickets in advance, for a specific date and time. The event tends to sell out most weekends and every night in the last two weeks of December. If you can, attend on a weeknight during the first two weeks of the month. BUY NOW

Already have your night reserved? Make sure to print out your tickets, and arrive with your entire ticketed party, to make admission go as smoothly as possible. Confirmation emails are NOT tickets, and we can't accept those at the gate.

2. Go whole hog with a VIP Package.

While our actual red river hogs will be in dreamland, you can still go whole hog with a VIP All-Inclusive Package—including entry to the Zoo Lights Celebration Pavillion (with warming stations), PLUS one adult beverage, a sweet or savory treat, a souvenir mug filled with cocoa or cider and Holospex glasses.

3. All aboard for a memorable night.

If you’ve got little ones in tow (or if you’re simply young at heart) don’t miss these event upgrades! For $8, you can add a variety of kid-friendly extras to your Zoo Lights evening—from cocoa in a souvenir mug plus Holospex, to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in 4D (15 minutes) with a ride on the Conservation Carousel or Denver Zoo Railroad, presented by Union Pacific Railroad.

4. Don’t miss this year’s newest additions.

The biggest news this year is the First Light Musical Holiday Tree Show: a spirited pixel tree with enchanting light patterns timed to classic seasonal tunes. You’ll also find other holiday treasures sprinkled throughout the event—from Sue the Giant Elm maze and ice-carving artisans, to a Hula Hoop Dance Party and more! Our app is the best way to find your way around the Zoo, so DOWNLOAD OUR APP and come prepared!

5. Skip the sold-out blues—and save!

We’re excited to offer a NEW feel-good two-fer this year: Zoo Lights Rideshare Program! Guests who rideshare (including Uber, Lyft, taxi or bus) enjoy a $5 discount on their ticket—and can attend Zoo Lights ANY night, even if it’s already sold out. Click below to learn exactly how it works.

6. Schedule some time with Santa.

Santa needs his beauty sleep in order to sleigh the holidays—so he’s moving to the morning shift for Denver Zoo’s first-ever Breakfast with Santa! Make priceless memories for your little ones over a hearty breakfast, up-close and personal with the one-and-only St. Nick. Includes Denver Zoo admission, too!

7. Find some nocturnal friends.

December evenings can be downright brisk here in Denver—so if you’re feeling the chill, it’s probably time to check out one of our indoor exhibits. Tropical Discovery is reliably cozy, with many species active after dark. El Pomar Village Hall is home to fishing cats and Asian small-clawed otters, both of which are busy hunting and playing at night. Giraffes and pachyderms are also active, accessible…and adorable.

8. Location! Location! Location!

To make admission a little easier, this year we've designated entrances for different times and tickets. As a reference, the Main Gate has a big giraffe statue and the Welcome Center, the West Gate is located to the left of the Elevators on Level 2 of the Parking Garage, and the East Gate is a thousand feet to the left of the Main Gate, closest to DMNS. All of these are marked on OUR APP.

Please note your ticketed time and the entry gate that will best accommodate you:
- 5:30pm West Gate: VIP and Corporate parties only.
- 5:30pm Main Gate: All guests with a 5:30pm entry time.
- 6:30pm East Gate: All guests with a 6:30pm entry time.
- 7:30pm Main Gate or East Gate: All guests with a 7:30pm entry time.

All gates will close at 9:00pm. We hope you have a fantastic 2019 Zoo Lights!


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