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Zoo Lights returning with walk-through and drive-thru experiences

ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo to start Wednesday, Nov. 22
Posted at 6:31 PM, Oct 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-11 00:39:13-05

PHOENIX — Zoo Lights, the Phoenix Zoo's yearly holiday lights display and event, will have both its traditional walk-through experience and a drive-thru experience this year, as well as a "sensory-friendly" night.

During Zoo Lights, which runs from Nov. 24, 2021, to Jan. 15, 2022, millions of lights and dozens of illuminated animal displays are scattered throughout the zoo high in the trees and along the zoo's pathways, including butterflies, dragonflies, penguins, lions, and giraffes.

There is also the "Music in Motion" light show near the lagoon, which features thousands of lights synced to holiday songs, a traditional Christmas tree, and vendors will hot chocolate and warm snacks.

This year, the zoo's Wildlife Lantern Safari will have more than 40 animal-shaped lanterns along one of its trails. They've added more lanterns for this year's event, according to Linda Hardwick, the vice president of marketing, communications, and events.

The zoo will also showcase thirteen paintings from artist Russell Ronat that feature different endangered species, such as the hawksbill sea turtle, Amur leopard, and Bornean orangutan, she said.

On walk-through nights, a majority of the zoo's trails are open for people to walk around to see all of the lights and displays.

On drive-thru nights, called "Cruise Zoo Lights," the zoo is closed to foot traffic and people drive along a guided route to see some of the lights and displays. There are ten drive-thru nights scheduled so far: Nov. 29 & 30, Dec. 6 & 7, Dec. 13 & 14, Jan. 3 & 4, 2022, and Jan. 10 & 11, 2022.

Admission is $16 for zoo members and $20 for non-members for walk-through nights. The cost is $60 per vehicle for members and $75 per vehicle for non-members on drive-thru nights.

Tickets have to be booked online, https://www.phoenixzoo.org/zoolights, and in advance, the zoo said.

On Wednesday, Nov. 10, the zoo will host a sensory-friendly version of Zoo Lights that will have smaller crowds, quieter music throughout the zoo, no "Music in Motion" light show, and more lights will be static rather than flickering or flashing. There will also be a quiet room available in the education center.