As we enter November Chicago begins to bask in its peak autumnal beauty and savor the ephemeral transition period in which the city, albeit briefly, reaches arguably its most beautiful time of the year.
It could be easy to focus purely on the weather and look fearfully ahead as the impending Midwestern winter shows signs of its advent but luckily for us each year Chicago erupts into a fantastic festive frenzy featuring wonderful winter events and experiences of all kinds.
Returning for its 29th year on Friday, November 17th, the popular family-oriented ZooLights has been providing Chicagoans with holiday magic since the 1990s filling the grounds of Lincoln Park Zoo with seasonal joy.
Featuring a Ferris wheel, an expansive light tunnel, and hundreds of themed displays with 3D and LED lights, it is one of the most loved and most affordable light show experiences in the state.
Visitors can enjoy the annual light festival for just $7 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, $10 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and gain access completely free on Mondays.
All ticket sales support the zoo’s world-class animal care, global conservation efforts, and innovative learning programs as well as helping keep it free to the public for the rest of the year.
In addition to returning crowd favorites like the Ferris wheel and the Main Mall’s expansive light tunnel, there will once again be a wide range of festive photo ops, live ice carving demonstrations, and Christmas carolers as well as a never-before-seen garden-themed light show on the zoo’s South Lawn.
Snowy’s Sprits & S’more holiday-themed pop-up bar will again serve festive cocktails, hot drinks, and fire pits for roasting s’mores while the Pepper Family Wildlife Center will be transformed into the North Pole, hosting visits with Santa.
The Endangered Species Carousel and the Lionel Train Adventure will also again offer exciting experiences for little ones.
This year ZooLights will take place from Friday, November 17, 2023, until Sunday, January 7, 2024, except for Thursday, November 23 (Thanksgiving Day), Sunday, December 24 (Christmas Eve), and Monday, December 25 (Christmas Day).
Tickets will still be required on Mondays but they will be completely free and will be released a week in advance of each date with limited quantities available.
“We hope to inspire a new nostalgia for generations of families and friends to come,” said Director of Marketing & Events Gretchen Kirchmer. “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”.
More information can be found at www.lpzoo.org/event/zoolights.
[Featured image courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo]