Experience ZOOLIGHTS, Calgary’s biggest Christmas lights display, at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo from November 19, 2021 – January 2, 2022 AND January 8, 2022.
ZOOLIGHTS at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo, presented by Olympia Trust Company, is celebrating 25 years with more lights than ever before, a new Dinos in the Dark experience, Tunnel of Light, Memory Lane, and fun activities like ice skating, axe throwing, and drumming. Warm up at a fire pit, Kitamba Café, or the ENMAX Conservatory, which is decked out with “The Nutcracker” themed decorations. If you’ve still got some holiday shopping to do, the Gift Shops are open. Support the Calgary Zoo while you get a one-of-a-kind gift!
Over 200 light installations (or two million lights!) will delight guests of all ages, and get everyone in the holiday mood. Book ZOOLIGHTS tickets online and dress warm so you can stay a while. We recommend 1.5 – 2 hours to see everything.
Highlights of ZOOLIGHTS
There’s lots to see and do at ZOOLIGHTS. Download the Magical Map before you go, so you don’t miss anything! The Sensory Map indicates flashing lights, sounds, and quiet zones so you can plan your trip accordingly.
Our favorite things to see at ZOOLIGHTS include the following:
- Dinos in the Dark: Visit the Prehistoric Park for the first time during ZOOLIGHTS, hear the dinos roar, and watch the volcano erupt (every 5 minutes).
- Journey to Wechiau, next to Destination Africa, celebrates the music and culture of Wechiau, Ghana.
- Tunnel of Light in the gardens beside the ENMAX Conservatory: The tunnel has lights that change color in time to music, and if you’re lucky, can be changed to your favorite color (red and green, pink, and other colors available)!
- The ENMAX Conservatory: The Conservatory’s Nutcracker-themed decorations are stunning. Take photos in the wintry sleigh or beside trees adorned with tutus and ballet slippers.
- “In Exploration Asia you’ll find a beautiful display we call ‘Wild Lights’ which pays homage to some of the threatened species that the Wilder Institute and the Calgary Zoo are working together to save,” said Alison Archambault, Director of Brand & Engagement.
- The huge light-wrapped tree in front of Kitamba Café is pretty spectacular too.
Things to Do at ZOOLIGHTS
While exploring the grounds and enjoying the lights is definitely the highlight of ZOOLIGHTS, there are also some fun activities at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo:
- Get a photo with Santa at Santa’s Cabin (Karsten Discovery Centre – across from the penguins). Masks are required for your socially-distanced visit with Santa. Available November 19 – December 23 from 5 pm – 6 pm. Note that Monday night from 5 pm – 6 pm is reserved for Zoo Members only.
- Ice skating at the Calgary Hitmen Skating Rink at the Asian Lawn Tent (across from the pandas). Free skate rentals are available courtesy of KidSport Calgary. Daily, last entry at 8:45 pm.
- Try Axe Throwing with Rival Axe Throwing: 8 & over can take 3 free swings. Waivers must be completed in advance. Available Thursday to Sunday at the Asia Lawn, last entry to the queue at 8:45 pm.
- Play the drums at Journey to Wechiau (near Destination Africa)
- Ride the Wildlife Carousel: Kids can ride their favorite animal on the wildlife carousel at the West end of the Zoo. 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. daily with the last ride loading at 7:45 p.m. Payment by debit or credit preferred.
ZOOLIGHTS is open November 19, 2021 – January 2, 2022, AND January 8, 2022 (bonus day) from 5 pm – 9 pm.
Exclusions – The following dates are excluded from regular ZOOLIGHTS admission:
- November 23: Adults Only Night (18+) – this evening requires a separate admission ticket.
- November 28 & 30; December 3: Closed for private events
- December 25: Closed for Christmas
- December 31: Zoo Year’s Eve – this evening requires a separate admission ticket.
Tickets & Pricing
General (16+): $21.95
Child (3-15): $14.95
Under 3: Free
Member pricing: Inspire members receive unlimited free access to ZOOLIGHTS. Engage and all Child members receive a one-time 50% off discount on ZOOLIGHTS tickets.