Cool nights, warm lights
November 17th, 2023 – January 7th, 2024
ZOOLIGHTS, presented by Olympia Trust Company, is even brighter this year with over one million lights, close to 250 light figures, and an exciting new arctic aurora theme. Immerse yourself in a plethora of lights, making for the perfect photo opportunity, date night, or night out with friends and family.
For many Calgarians, the holiday season is simply incomplete without a visit to ZOOLIGHTS. Calgary’s award-winning holiday tradition will be glowing for seven weeks of festive, family-friendly fun. Don’t miss ice skating, axe throwing, and delicious hot chocolate.
What’s New This Year?
New themed areas and activities will bring you even more ZOOLIGHTS fun in 2023.
- Experience Polar Nights in Prehistoric Park. Journey through the first seasons in the life of a polar bear cub and its mother underneath the Northern Lights.
- Winter is no match for the colours of the Dorothy Harvie Gardens. Enjoy a magical garden experience illuminated by colourful lights and flower figures, as well as two festive photo opportunities. Our seven rentable Snow Globes are also located in this area.
- It’s all about ice and snow in the ENMAX Conservatory. Roam the arctic twilight and surround yourself with arctic creatures, snow covered trees, gorgeous chandeliers, and of course, polar bears. The sparkly sleigh is the perfect place for your family photographs and the display of arctic animals in the festive trees will wow you.
- Experience the magic of the forest in Winter while you take a Boreal Forest Trek through Exploration Asia. This new themed section will transport you to a Canadian forest, while paying homage to our iconic animals with green sparkle to guide your way.
Sunlight to ZOOLIGHTS
This is big
To celebrate the opening of Wild Canada this December, we’re offering Sunlight to ZOOLIGHTS combo passes from
December 1st, 2023 to January 7th, 2024. This combo ticket is a special offer that allows guests to visit both the zoo as of 1 p.m. and ZOOLIGHTS in a single discounted ticket.
See the magnificent polar bears before experiencing the magic of ZOOLIGHTS in the same visit by purchasing your ticket in advance.
Sunlight to ZOOLIGHTS Combo Tickets
The Sunlight to ZOOLIGHTS combo ticket is a special offer that allows guests to visit both the zoo as of 1 p.m. and ZOOLIGHTS in a single discounted ticket. Combo tickets are available from
December 1st, 2023 to January 7th, 2024.
Snow. Glow. Whoa.
Snow Globes are back to make your next romantic date night, pals night out, family celebration or other occasion extra special. Enjoy your private oasis surrounded by twinkling lights at this one-of-a-kind experience.
Your package includes admission to ZOOLIGHTS along with the rental of a Snow Globe and your selected food and beverage package.
Holiday Party Fun
Beary Merry (18+)
Eat, drink and be beary merry at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo. Designed for small groups, this holiday party is the perfect way for you and your small business team, clients, group of friends or family to toast the season in a fun, festive, and zoo-nique way.
A Holiday Buffet
ZOOLIGHTS & Feast Combo
Take a break from the cold and fill your belly with a holiday feast. ZOOLIGHTS admission can be purchased together with tickets to our holiday buffet online or at the gates, and separately by visiting Kitamba Café.
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday nights from December 1st – January 7th (excluding December 25th)
Where: Kitamba Café
Ring in the New Year
Zoo Year’s Eve
Celebrate the last night of the year with the best and brightest backdrop in the city. You’ll be able to enjoy all the fun of ZOOLIGHTS with extra special activities added to ring in the New Year.
Ring in the New Year
Zoo Year’s Eve: Celebration Gala
Embark on a wild and unforgettable New Year’s Eve adventure at our Zoo Year’s Eve Celebration Gala. Immerse yourself in the magic of the night surrounded by a cocktail party, dazzling lights, photo booth, and live music.
Don’t miss the chance to make your New Year’s Eve celebration extraordinary at the zoo with Chef Kenneth Titcomb’s handcrafted four-course plated dinner.
To ensure that our guests have the best ZOOLIGHTS experience, we encourage you to:
Check the weather and be prepared that on warm winter nights ZOOLIGHTS will be busy.
Skip the Line
Spend more time taking in the magic of ZOOLIGHTS. Buy tickets online and skip the line.
Ensure you wear proper winter boots and winter clothing to stay warm and safe.
Host an Event
Corporate ZOOLIGHTS Packages
Wow your guests with one of the most unique locations in Calgary. Corporate ZOOLIGHTS packages are the most magical way to wish your staff the best of the season.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the hours of ZOOLIGHTS?
ZOOLIGHTS, presented by Olympia Trust Company, is accessible from 5:00pm to 9:00pm, with the last admission to the park at 8:30pm.
How long does it take to experience ZOOLIGHTS?
It takes about 90 minutes to fully experience all that ZOOLIGHTS has to offer.
Can I visit with Santa?
Yes, you can visit with Santa by visiting the Santa Experience, presented by Servus Credit Union, inside the Karsten Discovery Centre. Visits with Santa take place from 5:00pm to 9:00pm, starting November 17th through to December 23rd.
Please note that Members will have exclusive access to the Santa Experience for the first four Mondays of ZOOLIGHTS (November 20th and 27th, and December 4th and 11th) from 5:00pm to 6:00pm, during Member Mondays. Members will be asked to show their membership card at the door. General access to the Santa Experience will start at 6:00pm on these dates.
Is the skating rink back? What time is the skating rink open?
Yes, the free outdoor skating rink, presented by the Calgary Hitmen, is back at the tent on the Asia Lawn. There are even free skate rentals available, courtesy of our friends at KidSport. The skating rink is open from 5:00pm to 9:00pm, with the last entry to skate at 8:45pm.
Is axe throwing returning this year?
Yes, axe throwing, presented by Rival Axe Throwing, is back again on the Asia Lawn. This truly Canadian experience allows guests aged eight and above to take up to three free swings.
Rival Axe Throwing is available on Fridays and Saturdays from November 17th to December 12th, 2023, and every night from December 13th, 2023, to January 7th, 2024 (excluding December 25th). Rival Axe Throwing is open from 5:00pm to 9:00pm, with the last entry to the queue at 8:45pm.
Please note that waivers for those under 18 need to be signed by an adult at the Rival Axe Throwing tent prior to throwing.
Will the Wildlife Carousel be operational?
Excel Homes is proudly sponsoring free carousel rides for ZOOLIGHTS visitors. Rides will take place nightly during ZOOLIGHTS from 5:00pm to 8:00pm, with the last ride loading at 7:45pm.
Are retail and concessions open?
Our retail shops (North Gift Shop and Bamboo-tique) and concessions (The Chocolate Bar, Penguin Café, Kitamba Café, Kitamba Java, Safari Snacks, Camel Canteen, and Tigers Den) will be open nightly during ZOOLIGHTS.
Will the fire pits be back?
Fire pits will once again be in place around the zoo as spots to warm fingers and toes. There are seven fire pits in total – five for the general public, and two in private event spaces.
Is there a sensory experience this year?
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 of charge) with supplies to help improve their ZOOLIGHTS experience. These bags include headphones, a fidget spinner, and more. We have also added more on park signage ahead of flashing or moving lights and sounds, so our sensory-sensitive guests are not caught off–guard.
Are there any special offerings for Members?
On four select Mondays during ZOOLIGHTS (November 20th and 27th, and December 4th and 11th) from 5:00pm to 6:00pm, our Wild Scout, Wild Explorer, and Wild Adventurer members are invited to enjoy exclusive access to visit with Santa in Santa’s Cabin, presented by Servus Credit Union (located inside the Karsten Discovery Centre).
- Wild Adventurers have two complimentary tickets to ZOOLIGHTS and a 50% discount off additional tickets for the member (card holder) only.
- Note: Wild Adventurers who were active Inspire Members (Adult/Senior) prior to the new program launch (October 2nd) will be granted unlimited ZOOLIGHTS access for the remainder of the 2023-24 ZOOLIGHTS season, the two (2) ticket benefit does not come into effect until 2024-25 ZOOLIGHTS season for these members.
- Wild Explorers and Wild Scouts receive a one-time 50% discount on a ZOOLIGHTS admission ticket.
- Note: Wild Scouts who were active Inspire Child Members prior to the new program launch (October 2nd) will be granted unlimited ZOOLIGHTS access for the remainder of the 2023-24 ZOOLIGHTS season, the two (2) ticket benefit doesn’t come into effect until 2024-25 ZOOLIGHTS season for these members.
Are wheelchairs available?
Wheelchair rentals are available on a first–come, first–served basis. Please inquire at the North Gift Shop for a rental.
Are there any blackout dates?
Yes – ZOOLIGHTS is closed to the public on November 28th, November 30th, and December 25th. On December 31st, ZOOLIGHTS will be open for a special separate ticketed event – Zoo Year’s Eve.
How much is parking for ZOOLIGHTS?
Parking will be $13 at the North Gate.
Do members receive free parking?
Registered Wild Explorer and Wild Adventurer members receive free parking at the zoo from 8:45am until one hour past zoo closure, which includes extended hours for ZOOLIGHTS and special events.
What happens in the event ZOOLIGHTS is cancelled due to weather?
The ZOOLIGHTS ticket will be exchanged for the alternative visitation. An email will be sent out to guests who have purchased tickets for said days with information of the cancellation and their options.
What happens if ZOOLIGHTS is cancelled due to weather but I have a Sunlight to ZOOLIGHTS ticket?
The ZOOLIGHTS component of the ticket will be exchanged for the alternative visitation day as per the process that is currently in place for ZOOLIGHTS. An email will be sent out to guests who have purchased tickets for said days with information of the cancellation and their options.
Sunlight to ZOOLIGHTS Combo Tickets
What is the Sunlight to ZOOLIGHTS combo ticket?
The Sunlight to ZOOLIGHTS combo ticket is a special offer that allows you to visit both the zoo during that afternoon and ZOOLIGHTS in a single discounted ticket. It offers an exciting and cost effective way to enjoy multiple experiences in one day.
How can you purchase this combo ticket?
This combo ticket is available for purchase online only. Tickets can be accessed via this page and the Plan Your Visit page.
Can I use the combo ticket components on separate days?
No, the combo ticket bundle is valid for a single-day visit. Once visitors enter the experience, they cannot return on a different day.
What is the latest time I can purchase tickets for a same day visit?
Tickets will be on sale until 3pm for a same day visit. Since animal habitat buildings close at 3:45pm and last entry to Wild Canada is at 4pm, tickets won’t be sold past 3pm to ensure guests are able to make the most of their visit.
Why is there a Sunlight to ZOOLIGHTS senior ticket when ZOOLIGHTS doesn’t have a senior ticket?
The general admission ticket options includes a senior option, and the combo ticket accounts for this.
Can military or ZooShare discounts be used for the combo ticket?
No, this ticket is only available at the prices that have been set.
Can Members use their admission discounts?
No, Membership admission discount applies to general admission tickets only.
I can only make one of the two experiences, can a portion of the ticket be refunded?
No, the tickets are not transferable or refundable.