Zoo Lights Hogle Zoo

Every year, Hogle Zoo puts on an amazing Christmas light adventure. Zoo Lights is fun and exciting for the kids, and very affordable. We love to visit Zoo Lights at Hogle Zoo because you can see animals, Santa, and Christmas lights all in one.


Starting at 5 pm the zoo turns on an extravagant Christmas light display and has Santa visit, reindeer, crafts, and the carousel running. We arrived right as they opened and were able to see quite a few animals along with the lights. The tigers were prowling (all the cats were pretty active), and all of the houses—monkeys, snakes & reptiles, etc. were open.

lion with Christmas lights in the background
The big cats are especially active at Zoo Lights.

In an unbelievable stroke of good luck, we arrived on the day of a birth announcement (Dec 9) and actually got to see the new baby Colobus monkey. It looked much like you’d expect a newborn to look—sort of wrinkly and smooshy and damp.

New baby monkey with his mom!
New baby monkey with his mom!


Santa arrived with a few reindeer early in the evening. We watched his arrival, and then waited in the short line to visit with Santa. You can write a letter to Santa while you wait, and you take your own pictures, so it’s free with admission. It was a fun visit with Santa at the zoo.

The train does not run during Zoo Lights, but the carousel does. We love to spend a few dollars on tickets and take a ride on the carousel.

child riding the carousel at Hogle Zoo
Our boys always enjoy the carousel.
Christmas light train at Zoo Lights Hogle Zoo
The train wasn’t running, but we loved these train lights.


The lights are amazing.  We wandered through the entire zoo checking out the different light displays and looking in at the animals. Some animals are asleep and not out, but there are many that you can still see. The boys loved seeing the lights that look like animals, and most of the lights moved in some way. 

Zoo Lights at Hogle Zoo

They have some glowing life-size animals that are neat to see, too. We also love walking across the bridge with it’s light tunnel flashing over us as we walk.

Bald Eagle light at Hogle Zoo
Christmas tree and lights at the zoo
tunnel lights at Zoo Lights at Hogle Zoo

Tips for Families

Make sure to dress warm and for young children, and don’t forget strollers because it is quite a walk.  We tucked blankets around both our boys in the strollers and they seemed to stay plenty warm. There is hot chocolate and food for sale, too.

Watch for discount days. Sometimes they partner with different TV stations or companies to offer discounted days. For more information about hours, pricing, and possible discounts , check out the Hogle Zoo’s website.

For another fun Christmas event, check out Candlelight Christmas at This is the Place Heritage Park across the street from the Zoo.

Hogle Zoo covered in Christmas Lights
Zoo lights sign at Hogle Zoo

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