Many people who lived in LA in the 1990s and early 2000s remember the LADWP’s annual Holiday Light Festival, which ran for 14 years in Griffith Park, as one of the city’s truly iconic, family-friendly winter holiday events. But after a cancellation in 2010 to make way for a big water main construction project, the celebration never returned. In 2014, however, the LA Zoo picked up and adapted the tradition, with its own new LA Zoo Lights extravaganza, the latest edition of which, LA Zoo Lights: Animals Aglow, opened yesterday and runs through January 7. It’s a different generation of holiday celebration, with vastly updated technology, and still great fun for all ages.
For those who have never attended, the light displays, which take 60-90 minutes to walk through, are arranged along several of the main pathways through the Zoo, and include “wildlife-inspired lantern displays, festive photo ops, interactive experiences, and roaming live entertainment.” There are also a number of interactive displays, including several highly Instagrammable photo backgrounds, a walk-through mirrored kaleidoscope, and motion-sensing cacti that will dance with you. And while the weather was mild (perfect for a leisurely stroll) on the night we previewed the event, chilly-weather snacks, including churros and hot chocolate, are also available for purchase. The Zoo carousel is open for rides, too, for an additional fee.
Zoo Lights: Animals Aglow is open from 6:00-9:45 p.m. every evening. Ticket prices vary depending on the day and date:
November 22 and 29–30; December 6–7 and 13–14; January 1–4
Adults (13+) $29 and Children (2–12) $18
November 17–19 and 24–26; December 1–3 and 8–10; January 5–7
Adults (13+) $32 and Children (2–12) $20
December 15–23 and 26–31
Adults (13+) $35 and Children (2–12) $23
There will also be a couple of special Happy Hour events, as well as a Sensory Friendly night on Tuesday, December 5, and Pride Night on Thursday, January 5.
Tickets are available here. Discounts are available for LA Zoo members, and parking is free for everyone.