Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo
Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo
Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

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Things to Do in December: Through Jan. 7, 2018, you can light up your winter life at Lincoln Park Zoo, the country's oldest free public zoo, and enter a visual wonderland - the 22nd annual ZooLights. The free, family-friendly holiday event plugs in two million lights every night at dusk, including colossal lighted animal and seasonal displays. There will be holiday crafts and other activities, live ice-sculpture carving, visits with Santa and sweet surprises. Sip warm spiced wine and frosty lager then experience the carousel, train, ferris wheel, light maze, or the Undersea Adventure and Polar Journey. Check in for an inexpensive New Year's Eve with complimentary festive hats, horns and party favors. Zoo Lights takes place 4:30–9 p.m. Dec. 8–23, 26–31; Jan. 1–7, 2018.

Holiday Attractions: More than 2 million lights, many in animal shapes, cover this lakefront zoo during its annual ZooLights display. Go to the Helen Brach Primate House and have your photo taken with Santa, make holiday crafts, or watch the live ice sculpture carving demonstrations. Kids can ride through the snowy birch forest on the new Lionel train ride, or take a spin on the endangered species carousel (tickets must be purchased for those two rides). The zoo's gift shops are also filled with unique animal-themed items for purchase. Mostly, people go to ZooLights just to walk around and view the animals in the colorful and fun holiday setting.


2001 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614

Map / Directions
(312) 742-2000

Expert Tips by Jacky Runice

Chicago Local Expert

Things to Do in December: "Snag your 3D holiday specs upon entering."

Best for Things to Do in December Because: Who doesn't need a free evening of fun, animals and twinkling lights in December?

Expert Tips by Jamie Bartosch

Chicago Local Expert

Holiday Attractions: "To make it more of an adult experience, go during their adults-only nights, such as Brew Lights on Dec. 1, 2016."

Best for Holiday Attractions Because: This free holiday activity is a long-running favorite among Chicago families.

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