An event every week that begins at 10:00 am on Friday, repeating until January 2, 2021 12:00 am
One event on January 3, 2021 12:00 am at 10:00 am
‘Tis the season to experience one of Central Ohio’s most cherished holiday traditions! Wildlights, efficiently powered by AEP Ohio, opens to the general public on Friday, November 20 and will run through Sunday, January 3, 2021 at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
This year’s Wildlights marks 32 years of offering this holiday cheer in our community, with some favorite attractions returning and other new opportunities being offered! The entire Zoo will be transformed into a winter wonderland covered in over 3 million LED lights, and some of the main attractions include:
· Sparkling Spruce, presented by Meyers Jewelers, featuring two animated light displays, “Candela: The Evolution of Light” and “Holiday Cheer,” located in Adventure Cove
· Animated Light Displays, including “Holiday Rhythms Around the Watering Hole” at Conservation Lake, and “Jingle Ball,” presented by Nationwide, at the Shores Play Park
· Wildlights Rides, including the Polar Bear Express, a train ride through the North America Winter Wonderland; Camel Rides, located in the North America region; and the 1914 Mangels-Illions Carousel, a historic Central Ohio treasure located near the Columbus Dispatch Charities Grand Pavilion. Additional fees may apply.
· S’mores Experience – New for 2020, this socially-distanced activity allows guests to gather around a glowing fire to roast their own giant marshmallow. After roasting, seating is available for guests to assemble their own warm and gooey s’more while taking in our animated light display from the shores of Conservation Lake. Advance purchase is strongly encouraged as space is limited. Guests can add a S’mores Experience ticket to any timed entry reservation for Wildlights.
· Santa Experience at Polar Frontier, located in the North America Region at the Battelle Ice Bear Outpost. Enjoy the ability to speak with Santa, as well as take part in a safe and fun photo opportunity, while still maintaining social distancing. Please see the “Know Before You Go” section below for more information. Please note that Santa will not be available after December 23 due to other obligations.
· And, of course, amazing animals! Many animals will be visible from the comfort of heated, indoor shelters including Manatee Coast, Discovery Reef, the Naomi Coyle Dempsey Quest for Enlightenment Interpretive Center, Vanishing Giants, the Reptile Building, and Bob & Evelyn’s Roadhouse Nocturnal Building. Others—including the sea lions at Adventure Cove and, of course, the reindeer—will be outside during the festivities. Please note that some animals settle in early (such as the gorillas, bonobos and polar bears) and will not be available to view after 4 p.m.
Regular Zoo hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Wildlights activities take place Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m,. and on Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
· The Zoo will be closed Thanksgiving Day (November 26) and Christmas Day (December 25), as well as for Wildlights on Christmas Eve (December 24).
· Wildlights is included with Zoo admission. Regular admission rates apply to all guests, and admission is free for Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Members.
· Please note that all Zoo visits (including for Members) will require a dated, timed ticket to help ensure that social distancing and other precautions are followed appropriately.
· Until November 19, Members can still visit the Zoo after 2 p.m. without a timed entry/reservation. However, starting on November 19 (through the remainder of Wildlights), Columbus Zoo Members can enjoy the Zoo BEFORE 3 p.m. without a reservation when a valid Columbus Zoo membership card and photo ID are presented at the turnstile. After 3 p.m., Members will then be required to reserve an entry time for admission to enjoy Wildlights.
· All of our other guests will continue to be required to make advance reservations for timed entry throughout the entire day/evening of Wildlights. No walkups will be permitted
· All reservations can be made online by visiting the Zoo’s Re-Opening Plan.