Christmas may be over but there is still time to squeeze in a few more holiday activities before the Christmas season fades into the start of the new year. Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo runs through January 1st and I recommend that you check it out if a trip to Chicago is in your sights over the next few days.
We try to make it to Lincoln Park Zoo about two times a year- once for our yearly trip in the summer or fall and again during the Christmas season to see the lights. We’ve been going to zoo lights since 2011; it’s one of those traditions we look forward to doing as a family year after year.
Zoo Lights is a great way to see the zoo in a completely different atmosphere. Though not all the exhibits are open, the point of visiting the zoo at night is not to see the animals but to feel the magic of the holiday season through lights. The zoo is lit with colorful lights and music that will get anyone into the holiday spirit. Children and adults, alike, love the sights and sounds of the season in this unique setting.
Although many of the animals aren’t visible, some of the exhibits do stay open. Ladybug spent a long time exploring the reptile/small animal house where the nocturnal animals were awake and full of life. She especially loved watching the chameleon- which she promptly named Pascal (the Disney love is strong with her!)- walking along a branch and waving at the guests. The primate house is also usually open and watching the gorillas and chimpanzees sleeping seems to delight the crowd.
Another crowd favorite is the musical light show. A holiday scene with Christmas trees, Santa’s sleigh and lollipops appear and disappear in time to music- jazzy Christmas tunes from Transiberian Orchestra and other performers. It is a delight to watch and one of the things we look forward to seeing every year.
And just in case the cold gets to be too much, hot chocolate and other warm drinks are available for purchase at multiple kiosks around the zoo. Not only will it warm you up inside, you can also use it to warm your hands if you forget your gloves. It’s a win-win.
If you’re looking for a fun, free activity to do with the kids to close out this holiday season, make sure to check out Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo.
What You Should Know About Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo
- Lincoln Park Zoo is a free zoo, however, in order to park in the lot, there is a fee. If you plan to drive, I recommend trying to find street parking somewhere nearby unless you want to pay. Limited free parking is available east of Broadway St. Public transportation is usually the best way to get to the zoo. The zoo is about a mile east of the Armitage and Fullerton CTA train stops. The 151 and 156 busses also stop at multiple bus stops right outside the zoo.
- December in Chicago is cold and sometimes snowy- make sure to wear multiple layers. It would also be a good idea to have blankets on hand for the kids. I even recommend using a stroller wind shield if you have one to protect your little ones from the strong biting wind.
- Zoo Lights is open from 4:30- 9 pm.
Have you ever been to Zoo Lights?
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