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ZooLights marks 30 years with more, brighter lights

Posted at 10:11 PM, Nov 25, 2021

PHOENIX — A 30-year Phoenix tradition continues with Zoolights at the Phoenix Zoo!

"Hi! Come here. Come with momma. Are we going to see the lights? What are we going to see?” Jill Girdner said to her daughter.

Girdner, and her family, zipped along the zoo's paths to give her daughter an early glimpse of Christmas.

"The display is absolutely beautiful. We just absolutely love coming. She gets so excited to see them and the animals in the zoo,” added Girdner.

Work to create the holiday experience for families like the Girdners begins in June.

David Hertig is one of five behind it all.

"The crew sets it all up, takes it all down, and builds everything you see. Everything is done in-house,” said Hertig.

The entire Zoolights production contains more than three million lights.

Each wrapped around nearly 300 trees and spread across hundreds of more displays.

"I really like what we did with a lot of our themes in the trees this year,” added Hertig.

Most years, the Zoolights crew keeps the lights basic and more traditional. This year, the team went all out adding more colors, styles, and animations.

Creating the experience for people like Girdner's daughter lights up Hertig each year.

"Coming up here, hanging out incognito and hearing the reactions from kids as they come through to see a laser on the ground or a really tall eucalyptus that is wrapped in colors,” added Hertig.

It gives the brightest shine to the Girdners and keeps them coming every year.

"Just the moment of joy you get to spend with the family. It makes you stop and remember what the season is for,” added Girdner.

The Zoolights 30th season is scheduled to end on January 15.