Join the thousands of visitors who make ZooLights, powered by Pepco, a part of their annual holiday tradition. A free event, ZooLights includes live music performances, tasty winter treats and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping. More than 500,000 environmentally friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland! New this year: enjoy dozens of large, glowing animal lanterns and stroll through thousands of reflecting lights as part of the interactive — and highly Instagrammable — art exhibit called “Entre Les Rangs.” Don’t forget to share your #DCZooLights experience on social media!
Please note: ZooLights remains free and open to the public even during special event nights! Parking is limited. Visitors are encouraged to take public transportation.
This year, Military Night will be held Tuesday, Dec. 17. Check back soon for more information.
This season, ZooLights is bigger and better than ever. Take a peek at this year’s attractions:
NEW: ENTRE LES RANGS, A LUMINOUS FIELD OF LIGHTS
This award-winning exhibit, featuring a field of lights that call to mind wheat swaying in the breeze, will be a permanent installation at ZooLights this year. Take a relaxing stroll through the field as the reflecting lights shimmer and sway.
NEW: ANIMAL LANTERNS
This year, dozens of large animal lanterns will put the “Zoo” (and “Lights”) in ZooLights. Pandas, monkeys, zebras, elephants and more — all crafted in China and beautifully lit from within — will be stationed around the park.
THEY’RE BACK: ZOOTUBES, SPONSORED BY GEICO
The winter favorite returns! Guests can approach mach speed (more or less) when they hop into a tube and slide down the hill near the lion and tiger exhibits.
LASER LIGHT SHOWS, SPONSORED BY PEPCO
Watch animals come to life in laser lights on the outdoor wall of the Elephant Community Center.
GRUMP HOLIDAY MARKET
Shop at a European-style outdoor market that will double in size this year, featuring more local artisans offering unique gifts for all ages. GRUMP visits the Zoo on Dec. 6, 7 and 8.
In addition to the return of ZooTubes, sponsored by GEICO, take a merry tour on the Smithsonian’s National Zoo Choo-Choo, which whisks guests around Kids’ Farm and features gorgeous views of the holiday light displays. Hop on to your choice of 50 animal figurines at the Speedwell Foundation Conservation Carousel, which highlights the Zoo’s incredible research and success stories.
Individual rides during ZooLights are $3.50 each. Guests can purchase a 10-ride punch card (a $35 value) for $25, or $20 for FONZ members.
Please note that ZooLights does not feature the Zoo’s animals. All indoor animal exhibits will be closed to allow animals to get a full night’s rest. Visitors will be able to warm up indoors in the Zoo’s Visitor Center, Panda Plaza Gift Shop, Mane Grill and Great Cats Gift Shop.
Some ZooLights attractions are weather permitting and may not be open when temperatures are 35 degrees or below.
Member week takes place Dec. 1 through Dec. 8. During Member Week, FONZ members receive:
- FREE event parking all week during ZooLights hours*
- A punch card valid for 10 free ZooTubes, National Zoo Choo Choo or Speedwell Foundation Conservation Carousel rides
- An exclusive, light-up snowflake necklace
- An additional 10% discount in gift shops (on top of regular member discount)
- BOGO animal crackers
*During all other weeks of ZooLights, members pay the full event parking rate. There is no discounted event parking rate for ZooLights. Member week items are available while supplies last.
Not a member?