Zoo Lights is open to visitors from Dec. 4 to Jan. 3, but the lights take almost a full year to put up and take down. Installation by a crew of three begins in August and removal ends in May. Imagine organizing the storerooms full of lights that together create a 70-acre event! Events and Logistics Coordinator Lauren Huffer (pictured above) leads the team of nine that makes the event happen.
The lights are organized in a one-mile loop where visitors can see all the displays with everyone walking in the same direction. For those who need to stop and warm up, heated animal houses and restrooms are open along the way. Huffer estimates it typically takes about an hour to make the full loop.
The zoo’s regular hours end at 4pm. Readmission is required to visit Zoo Lights from 5:30–9pm. Tickets can be purchased online, where visitors can find a description of events happening on specific days, such as ice carving, music and dance performances. The general public price is $11. For children 3–11 it’s $7. Seniors 65 and up pay $9.