Walking the stretch of sparkling holiday lights along Crystal Springs Drive, while sipping hot chocolate with family and friends quickly turned into a tradition when my husband and I moved to Los Angeles from New England 11 years ago. To our disappointment, that tradition ended five years ago. But the lights are back, as the L.A. Zoo carries that torch for local families with their version of holiday lights- L.A. Zoo Lights.
An outdoor event, L.A. Zoo Lights is a self-guided tour through parts of the zoo. We spent 2 hours on our spectacular adventure, starting at the entrance with a towering Auxiliary Power Source aka the Monkey Tree. The only animals you will see throughout the night are (real) reindeer. Reindeer are much shorter than I thought! The rest of the animals were tucked in for the evening.
My personal favorites were the beautiful “Animal Borealis” and “Fantastical Elephants”. Lasers create flashes of majestic animals across a magical awning of fabric. The animals seem to come to life as you look up into the sky for breathtaking views of colorful eagles. The “Fantasical Elephants” is comprised of four elephant structures located outside of the Elephants of Asia. Shapes, objects and colors move across their surfaces to the beat of the music. I promise, you will be mesmerized. We spent a good deal of time here hypnotized by the creatures as they transformed into peppermint candies and holiday sweaters. A few of the pieces from original Holiday Light Festival can be seen in “ZOOray for Hollywood”. What a wonderful homage to to a past nighttime holiday favorite.
Here is a tour of what we saw:
L.A. Zoo Lights event will be lit, rain or shine, now through January 4th from 6pm- 10p.m. Santa makes an appearance on weekends and he looks like the “Ice King” of the zoo as he sits upon his glistening ice thrown. Tickets are a separate zoo admission and can be purchased at the ticket windows or on the zoo’s website (fee is applied). Entrance is timed, guests can select a time 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. With 6:00, 7:00 or 8:00 tickets, you can arrive at the gate any time within that hour. A few of the eateries will be open as well as two gift shops.
I highly recommend experiencing the L.A. Zoo lights with your family and starting a new tradition. I can’t wait to see what they will have in store next year!
* We received entrance to L.A. Zoo Lights for editorial purposes. Our opinions are solely our own.