With the first taste of winter weather arriving this week, it’s easy to let the thought of the impending cold get the better of us. These fleeting fall months provide us with an ephemeral transition period when Chicago, albeit briefly, reaches arguably its most beautiful time of the year.
Nonetheless, with the first snowfall, many of us can’t help but think ahead to the months of shoveling snow and battling against the teeth-chattering chill. While nothing can be done to allay the inevitable Midwestern winter, each year the realization that it is upon us is most certainly assuaged by the array of annual events that grace Chicago. The return of light shows, Christmas markets, and ice rinks are our shining lights this time of the year and provide us with cheer to combat the chill.
One of these such events, Lincoln Park Zoo’s popular ZooLights experience, has been providing Chicagoans with holiday magic since the 1990s and is about to return for its 28th year this coming weekend.
Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ, the cherished, family-oriented Chicago tradition sees seasonal joy sweep across the zoo grounds every November. Hundreds of themed displays with 3D and LED lights cover the zoo as a Ferris wheel, an expansive light tunnel, and much more provide a one-of-a-kind holiday experience.
At $5 per person Tuesday to Sunday and free nights on Mondays, Lincoln Park Zoo’s ZooLights is also far cheaper than other Chicago light shows and all ticket sales support the zoo’s world-class animal care, global conservation efforts, and innovative learning programs.
As well as the return of the crowd-favorite Ferris wheel and the Main Mall’s expansive light tunnel there will be a Chicago-themed patio at Eadie Levy’s Landmark Café and a re-envisioned light show on the crowd-favorite Winter Wonderlawn. Photos with Santa and Christmas carolers will also return through December 23 along with live ice carving on Fridays and Saturdays and a holiday pop-up bar at Snowy’s Spirits & S’mores.
The Endangered Species Carousel and the Lionel Train Adventure offer exciting experiences for little ones while warm spiced wine, frosty beers, festive drink specials, delicious holiday snacks, and joyful gift shopping will be available for all others throughout the event which will run from Saturday, November 19, 2022, through Sunday, January 1, 2023.
Free nights will take place on Mondays, November 21 and 28, and December 5, 12, 19, and 26. Tickets are still required for these nights, but they are completely free and will be released a week in advance of each date with limited quantities available. All other nights are $5 admission with the proceeds going towards supporting the zoo’s animal care, community, and conservation work.
“ZooLights is a longtime tradition for many, and, year after year, families and friends return to Lincoln Park Zoo to partake in seasonal cheer and watch zoo grounds transform into a dazzling winter wonderland,” said Director of Marketing & Events Gretchen Kirchmer.
ZooLights will run 4:30-10 pm nightly except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. More information can be found at www.lpzoo.org/event/zoolights.
[Featured image courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo]