Houston Zoo Lights

Houston Zoo Lights

Since animals were involved when Jesus was born in a manger, it should come as no surprise that animals play host to an event shedding light on the “reason for the season.”  Houston Zoo Lights, now in its tenth year, is sponsored by TXU Energy and is one of the largest and most visited holiday light displays in the nation.

The Houston Zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland, and one of Houston’s most well-loved holiday traditions. While many light displays are drive-thru adventures, this is truly an immersive experience. Guests can sip hot chocolate as they stroll through the beautiful Houston Zoo grounds and take in the sights and sounds of the season. Fifteen miles of earth-friendly LED lighting illuminate the zoo’s historic oak trees and decorate the paths to light the way.

This Year’s Highlights

Visitors this year can experience the Holiday Grove with animal-themed lanterns and hundreds of glowing flowers under the great oak trees wrapped in winter lights.  You can see the Zoo’s Great Ape Gallery transformed into an Illuminated Ocean presented by H-E-B, a glowing underwater adventure.  This creative display takes you “under the sea” as you walk under illuminated jellyfish and other sea creatures overhead.  Return to “land” and walk under a canopy of glowing flowers and butterflies in the hanging pollinator garden.  Take a stroll through a 125-foot-long Infinity Tunnel of Light.  You can even see “snow” in Texas and explore Winter Wonderland presented by Houston Methodist.

Be sure to take a photo in front of the new 33’ tall color-changing holiday tree, and remember to take a photo with Santa as he prepares for the holidays in his workshop at Twiga Café.

The zoo is always a magical place, but even more so at Christmastime.  Each year, this celebration in light only gets bigger and better.

LED Lights Help Wildlife

The Houston Zoo saves wildlife by only using energy-saving LED lights during Zoo Lights. The LED lights are using 85% less power than incandescent lights, allowing the Houston Zoo to conserve lots of energy.

Tons of holiday lights end up in landfills which spill over into animals’ natural homes. To help cut down on this waste, the Houston Zoo has recycled more than 24,000 pounds of holiday lights since 2016. Everyone can save wildlife by bringing and recycling broken or old holiday lights at the Houston Zoo throughout Zoo Lights. Save money on electricity bills and save wildlife by using LED lights at home.

Know Before You Go

During the nightly event, the zoo animals settle down for their long winter’s nap, and the star attraction is the lights. To see the zoo’s animals, guests are encouraged to visit the Houston Zoo during regular daytime hours, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM (last entry at 3:00 PM).  Zoo Lights event is a separate ticket from daytime zoo admission. 

Zoo Lights hours are 5:30-10:30 p.m., with last entry at 9:30 p.m.

Tickets will NOT be available for purchase at the gate and are only available online through houstonzoo.org. Buy early for the best price! Note: Ticket prices are the same for adults and children. Children ages 2 and under are free.  Present the digital ticket on your mobile device to scan for entry.

This year, in order to control flow and allow for better distancing, there is timed entry.  Your reserved time slot is your assigned arrival time.

Military, First Responders, and Educators are all eligible for 20% off admission throughout the Zoo Lights season.

Contact the call center at 713-533-6500 with event questions, questions about purchasing tickets or the online ordering system.

Use the main entrance at 6200 Hermann Park Drive.  The Zoo does not have its own parking lot; free parking is available in lost in Hermann Park outside the Zoo.

Per CDC guidelines, masks are strongly encouraged for all guests inside Zoo buildings.  The Zoo is a sprawling outdoor venue with abundant space to allow for safe social distancing, and the Zoo is limiting capacity during the event.

Along the Zoo Lights path, you’ll encounter plenty of yummy holiday treats including s’mores kits, hot chocolate, and more! Multiple food locations will be available, including Cypress Circle Café during Zoo Lights hours.

Stroller and scooter rentals will be available during Zoo Lights. Rentals may be paid via credit card only.

Houston Zoo Lights is open daily through January 9 (Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).

Houston Zoo
6200 Hermann Park Drive
Houston, TX 77030

Inset:  Did You Know?
The Houston Zoo is home to over 6,000 animals and welcomes over two million guests each year. Through guests visiting the Zoo, it supports 49 wildlife conservation projects in 27 countries around the world. It is the second most visited Zoo in the U.S. and the most-attended cultural attraction in the region.

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