Every winter, the Phoenix Zoo turns into a magical winter wonderland during the annual ZooLights holiday spectacular. ZooLights is one of the biggest holiday lights display in Phoenix and the entire Southwest, featuring more than 3.8 million LED holiday lights glowing throughout the park.
This year, ZooLights is getting even bigger, with a number of new light installations and attractions being added to the event roster. The festivities kick off on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, with nightly viewings until Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015.
The zoo will even be extending ZooLight evening hours this year, with guest entry available between 5:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. nightly.
ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo is one of the biggest annual holiday displays in the country — Photo courtesy of Phoenix Zoo
New ZooLights attractions include the debut of two "Music in Motion" lights shows, which feature musical selections from the movie Polar Express and Carol of the Bells by Arctic Express. The light shows, which occur several times an hour near the zoo's central lake, are choreographed to play alongside animal-themed light displays for a dazzling show of light and sound.
Guests at this years ZooLights will also get to enjoy the zoo's brand new 4-D theater, which features a Polar Express ride with life-like multi-sensory effects like snow, fog and gusts of wind. Audience guests will feel like they're taking a winter ride on a real-life Polar Express.
This year, ZooLights guests will also enjoy live art shows featuring experienced ice sculptors. Guests can gather around and watch a guest artist magically carve an animal out of a 300-pound block of ice. Also new this year is the debut of an animal exhibit featuring Tortuga, also known as "The Talking Galapagos Tortoise."
Along with this year's new attractions, ZooLights guests can also enjoy paying a visit to perennial favorites like the Stingray Bay touch tank. The popular exhibit lets visitors get up close and personal with southern stingrays and cow-nose stingrays, thanks to the zoo's interactive 12,000-gallon water tank.
Every night, families can also enjoy old-fashioned wagon rides, take a spin on an antique carousel or mount a real-life camel. Jengo, "The Talking Giraffe," will also be making an appearance this year.
Alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase every Friday and Saturday night, and the Desert Marketplace gift shop will stay open late every night to accommodate holiday shoppers.
General admission tickets are $18, although ticket prices vary based on anticipated peak attendance nights. Discounts are also available to guests who purchase tickets through the Phoenix Zoo website. As always, nightly shows will proceed rain or shine.