ZOOLIGHTS, presented by Olympia Trust Company, is back for its 26th year! Calgary's award winning, magical holiday tradition will be glowing for seven weeks of festive family-friendly fun. Enjoy all the magic of ZOOLIGHTS while supporting wildlife conservation - it's a win-win!
Here's what to expect during ZOOLIGHTS:
We're brightening your ZOOLIGHTS experience with bigger, brighter, and more magical themes to make this year even more memorable! This year's ZOOLIGHTS will feature exciting themed areas and activities including a new story in Prehistoric Park, a new Polar Wonderland, a multi-sensory experience in the gorilla amphitheatre, the Nutcracker in the ENMAX Conservatory, brand new Snow Globes for rent and so much more! Of course, we're bringing back all the classic activities everyone has come to love like the "Tunnel of Light", Skating Rink, Firepits and Rival Axe Throwing.
ZOOLIGHTS comes to life at night with twinkling lights at every turn, including over 200 light figurines, along with interactive and choreographed light displays. The lights are turned on at 5:00 p.m. nightly and run until 9:00 p.m. It takes approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours to experience all that ZOOLIGHTS has to offer - but you are able to stay for as little or as long as you like!
Check out the ZOOLIGHTS activities list below and be sure to download a Magical Map of the event.
All activities are included with the price of admission.
|Return to the Wild (NEW)||Follow the journey of a whooping crane chick from a small, speckled egg until they spread their wings and take flight, released into the wild to safeguard the future of their species. We celebrate conservation success through art, storytelling and illumination.||November 18 - January 8||Prehistoric Park|
|Forests of Kenya (NEW)||As you wander through Destination Africa, you will be immersed in stories from the tangled mountain forest complex around Mt. Kenya. We’ll be Bee-ting the Drum for Bongo, as we share the link between a critically endangered antelope species and the buzzing of honeybees with an interactive drumming experience. Lights showcase the biodiversity of Kenya and celebrate the community-led conservation initiatives we are so proud to be part of.||November 18 - January 8||Destination Africa|
|Garden of Light (NEW)||Enjoy a magical garden experience during the winter. The Dorothy Harvie Gardens will be illuminated in colourful lights and flower figures.
Our rentable Snow Globes are available for rent in this area. Learn more here.
|November 18 - January 8||Dorothy Harvie Gardens|
|It's All About Family (NEW)||This holiday season, we want to celebrate families. Family means so many things to different people, whether you are related or brought together by love. As you spend time with your dear ones, we want you to get to know one of the families at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo – the gorilla troop! Meet each family member and learn about their relationships through dynamic spoken word poetry and an innovative light show experience.||November 18 - January 8||Gorilla Amphitheatre|
|Polar Wonderland (NEW)||Head down to Exploration Asia and take a stroll through Polar Wonderland. A new themed section which pays homage to the animals of the North and South poles. This experience is a celebration of winter with shades of blues and snowflakes throughout.||November 18 - January 8||Exploration Asia|
|Santa's Cabin presented by Servus Credit Union||Be sure to stop by Santa's Cabin for a visit with Santa Claus! Join the queue outside the Karsten Discovery Centre nightly from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.* starting November 18 through December 23. *Please note that Members will have exclusive access to Santa's Cabin on three select Mondays during ZOOLIGHTS (Nov 28 & Dec 5 & 12) from 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. during Member Mondays. General access will start at 6:00 p.m. on these dates.
This year, Santa visits can be socially distanced or not, depending on your comfort level. Children are welcome to sit on Santa's lap, or stand beside him.
|November 18 - December 23 only||Karsten Discovery Centre (inside)|
|The North Pole||A celebration of the poles - North & South! As you exit the tunnel, you'll step into a winter wonderland of Christmas, candy and snow! Take a festive photo with your family & friends at our holiday photo op presented by Servus Credit Union.||November 18 - January 8||Penguin Plaza & Zoo Bridge|
|The Chocolate Bar||Returning this year! Treat yourself to one of our signature gourmet hot chocolate creations! Available in adult or child varieties.||November 18 - January 8||Plan Your Visit (between Penguin Plunge and Zoo Bridge)|
|The Nutcracker Experience||Step into the ENMAX Conservatory and be transported into the Nutcracker suite! This experience is a sparkly and beautiful salute to the classic Nutcracker story. Take your traditional family photos on a wintery sleigh, next to giant nutcrackers or a ballerina made entirely of flowers!||November 18 - January 8||ENMAX Conservatory|
|Skating Rink presented by Calgary Hitmen||Presented by the Calgary Hitmen, enjoy an outdoor skate with friends and family! Free skate rentals are available at the rink.
The Skating Rink closes at 9:00 p.m.; last entry to skate is at 8:45 p.m.
|November 18 - January 8||Asia Lawn & Tent|
|Rival Axe Throwing||Take your best whack at this truly Canadian experience presented by Rival Axe Throwing! Guests ages 8 and above can take up to 3 free swings. Please note that waivers will need to be signed by an adult at the Rival Axe Throwing tent prior to throwing.
Rival Axe Throwing closes at 9:00 p.m.; last entry to the queue is at 8:45 p.m.
|Friday & Saturdays from November 18-December 13. Every night from December 14-January 8.||Asia Lawn|
|Fire Pits||Take a minute to warm up beside one of our six fire pits located around the zoo!
||November 18 - January 8||Throughout the zoo grounds|
|Eat & Drink||Feeling snacky? Make a pit stop to any of our indoor or outdoor concession stands located throughout the zoo grounds.
Adult beverages - available at Kitamba Java, Safari Snacks, Camel Canteen, and Tigers Den:
The last call for alcohol is at 8:30 p.m.
|November 18 - January 8||Throughout the zoo grounds|
|Shopping||Looking for the perfect gift for the animal lover on your list? We've got you covered. Be sure to visit our retail locations while you're here.
|November 18 - January 8||Zoo grounds|
|Wildlife Carousel presented by Excel Homes||Located at the West end of the zoo, the wildlife carousel will be operating nightly during ZOOLIGHTS from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. with the last ride loading at 7:45 p.m.
NEW this year - the carousel rides are proudly sponsored by Excel Homes and are free for ZOOLIGHTS visitors.
|November 18 - January 8||Exploration Asia|
These are just some of the magical activities we have planned for you!
The following dates are excluded from regular ZOOLIGHTS admission:
*Please note that regular ZOOLIGHTS admission tickets, zoo passes or complimentary tickets will not be accepted for admission on these nights.
We want everyone to be able to enjoy the magic of ZOOLIGHTS in a way that works best for them. Returning this year, our sensory sensitive guests can access a Sensory Bag (free rental) with supplies to help improve their ZOOLIGHTS experience. These bags include headphones, fidget spinner, and more. We’ve also added more on park signage ahead of flashing or moving lights and sounds so our sensory sensitive guests are not caught off guard. Be sure to check out the ZOOLIGHTS map to get sensory information in advance. In addition, be sure to download our ZOOLIGHTS 2022: A Teaching Story; a useful resource to help prepare our sensory sensitive guests in advance so they can get the most out of their ZOOLIGHTS experience.
Interested in purchasing ticket bundles? We offer discounts on bundles of 50+, 100+ and 200+ tickets. Please contact our Guest Relations team by phone at (403) 232-9300 or via email to [email protected] for pricing and assistance.
Inspire members have unlimited free access to ZOOLIGHTS. Engage and all Child members receive a one-time 50% off discount on ZOOLIGHTS tickets. To access the discount, members must log into their membership account. If you are unsure of your membership/account login DO NOT create your own login, please email [email protected] for assistance.
On three select Mondays during ZOOLIGHTS (Nov 28, Dec 5, Dec 12) from 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., Child, Inspire, and Engage members are invited to enjoy exclusive access to visit with Santa in Santa’s Cabin presented by Servus Credit Union. Santa's Cabin is located inside the Karsten Discovery Centre.
Brighten your ZOOLIGHTS experience even more with our special events. There's something for everyone to get you in the holiday spirit.
Check out our FAQs for answers to common questions about the ZOOLIGHTS experience.