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By Paige Wajsman | Agent in Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville Zoo First Annual ZOOLights

First Annual ZOOLights

Date: Dec 14–31
Event Information:

Sunday through Thursday:  6:30 pm. To 9:30 p.m.;
Friday through Saturday:  6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Closed Christmas Day

Cost: $9/Non-Members; $7/Members

Celebrate the holiday season and create a new family tradition admiring the sparkling lights and brilliant hues at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens’ first annual ZOOLights event. Thousands of LED lights will transform the Zoo into a luminous winter wonderland filled with moving sculptures, forests of lighted trees and animal silhouettes. Don’t miss:

  • Visits from Santa every evening from December 14th-24th and story time with Mrs. Claus on Fridays and Saturdays through December 24th (December 14th, 15th, 21st, and 22nd)
  • A nightly snow fall on the Zoo’s Great Lawn at 8:00 p.m.
  • Christmas sing-alongs at the Range of the Jaguar and festive holiday music throughout the path
  • Holiday dance performances on select nights in Range of the Jaguar at 7:00 p.m.:
    14th - Beth Marks Ballet Art Centre
    15th - Studio K Dance
    18th - Scott Jones School of Dance
    19th - Boleros Dance Center
    29th - Boleros Dance Center
  • A fire pit for roasting marshmallows and making s’mores
  • A special one-way Train Ride* around half the Zoo with special light displays that can only be seen from the Train
  • A Polar Express 4-D Ride Experience* that takes you to visit the North Pole and back
  • Reindeer games, a bounce house, a giant slide and children’s activities on the Zoo’s Great Lawn
  • Holiday themed costume characters and mascots
  • Select animals on exhibit for ZOOLights guests to see

Save time and money - Purchase your tickets online now for $1 off admission!

Presented by:


Want to get involved? The Zoo is looking for VOLUNTEERS for this brand new event!

*Additional cost for rides applies.


ZOOLights Frequently Asked Questions:

Does my ZOOLights ticket include admission to everything, or are there additional fees?
Your ZOOLights ticket includes admission to the main ZOOLights event and is sure to delight guests of all ages. If you like, you can choose to add on certain extras:

  • The Zoo’s Train Ride will be decorated with holiday décor and will be running from the Zoo’s Main Camp Train Station to the Trout River Train Station to give guests a look at special lights that are visible only from the Train. The Train will run with no stops and each Train Ticket is good for ONE ride on the tracks. Tickets are $2.00 for Adults and $1.00 for Children for both Zoo Members and Non-Members.
  • The Zoo’s 4D Ride Experience will feature the holiday classic, Polar Express! Tickets for this attraction are $3.00 for Zoo Members and $4.00 for Non-Members.
  • Ride the Zoo’s Wildlife Carousel for only $1.00.
  • Stingray Bay will be open for $1.00 admission for Zoo Members and $2.00 admission for Non-Members.
  • Special 3-D glasses that add an extra POP to your ZOOLights experience can be purchased for $2.00. Glow necklaces will also be available for $2.00. Snacks, keepsakes, and other gift shop items are available for purchase as well.

What time should I get there?
ZOOLights opens at 6:30 p.m. and closes at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday-Thursday and 10:00 p.m. on Friday-Saturday.
The gates for ZOOLights will close 1 hour prior to the stated closing time. The last Train will run 30 minutes prior to closing. Activity lines will also close at this time.

What animals will be on exhibit during ZOOLights?
Many of the animals will be sleeping inside, however the giraffes, jaguars, and Lost Temple reptiles and primates will be open for guest viewing.

When will Santa be visiting the Zoo?
Santa will be taking photos with children each night from December 14th-24th. The line will be closed off 30 minutes prior to Zoo closing. Mrs. Claus will be visiting on Fridays and Saturdays (December 14th, 15th, 21st, and 22nd) only to take photos and tell stories to children.

Click Here for more Frequently Asked Questions.

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