back to full calendar
Select nights, 6pm - 9pm
December 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28
|Child Ticket (ages 3-12)||$10|
This year WildLights is celebrating 27 years dazzling guests by transforming the Zoo into a sparkling winter wonderland. Come to this festive, annual tradition and marvel at more than a million colorful, sparkling holiday lights. Guests will encounter a herd of life-size, luminescent animal lanterns, including giraffe and cheetahs, explore newly added pathways and stroll through the popular tunnel of lights flashing to holiday music. Animal encounters and keeper chats, carousel rides, and entertainment are offered nightly. In true WildLights tradition, the festive G-scale model trains with more than 3,300 feet of track will be decked out for the holidays. Delicious food and beverages will also be available for purchase. Light up your holiday and Join Us!
General Event Questions:
What are the dates and times WildLights?
6:00pm - 9:00pm 8:30pm Last Admission
Members Only Night: Tuesday, November 26 (Members must bring the member card and photo ID)
November 27, 29, 30
December 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28
What are the prices for WildLights?
$14 general admission
$12 members, military (with I.D.)
$10 child (3-12 years old)
Free for children under 3
Can I enter the Zoo before the event starts?
On each event evening, the Zoo will be cleared of all daytime guests, including members and guests with pre-purchased WildLights tickets at 5 pm. At approximately 5:45pm each evening, the Zoo entrance gates will open for pre-admission into the Living Legacy Garden. At 6pm, guests are welcome to explore all of WildLights. A beverage and snack cart will be open at 5:45 pm in the Living Legacy Garden with hot chocolate and other snacks.
Can you see the animals during WildLights?
Much of WildLights takes place in the African side of the Zoo. So, you’re encouraged to visit some of our late-night party animals. You are most likely to see giraffe, cheetah, zebra, and African wild dogs.
Each evening there will be animal encounters in the Tennity Amphitheater from 6:30-8:00pm, and animal keeper chats at 7:00pm, 7:30pm, and 8:00pm. See your Daily Program schedule for the night of your visit for details on the chat locations.
Where should we park?
You’re encouraged to arrive with ample time to accommodate for parking. Parking is located within the main Zoo lot, with overflow on Portola Avenue and surrounding streets. Please be courteous when parking on neighborhood streets; do not block driveways, park in red zones, or block in other cars. Please be mindful of barricades and signage that is put into place to create a smooth parking experience for our guests. Also, please be expeditious when dropping off friends and family near the front gate so as not to impede the flow of traffic.
The Living Desert’s parking can fill up quickly. A later arrival (7:30p.m., rather than 6:00 p.m.) may improve your parking options. You can use your favorite rideshare app such as Lyft or Uber to save time and avoid parking inconveniences.
Allowed street parking locations include Portola Avenue, Haystack Avenue, and Buckboard Avenue. Please view map here.
Are gift shops and concessions open?
Yes, the main gift shop and all food and beverage outlets will be open.
Palm Garden Outdoor Grill – Grill fare, along with hot chocolate, snacks and beverages.
Kookabura Café – Fresh sandwich and salad selection, along with hot chocolate, snacks and beverages.
Thorntree Grill – Grill fare including hamburgers, crispy chicken sandwich, and hot dogs, along with hot chocolate, snacks and beverages.
Safari Soft Serve - Soft serve ice cream with toppings, milkshakes, fresh fruit smoothies, coffee drinks, and more.
Churro Stop – Fresh, made-to-order churros, soft serve ice cream, and beverages.
S’mores Station – S’mores kits available, along with hot chocolate and snacks. Living Legacy Beverage Cart – Hot chocolate and snacks.
Are strollers and wheelchairs available for rental?
Yes, The Living Desert rents strollers and push-cart style wheelchairs from the front plaza for a $5 fee. Strollers and wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first served basis.
Will the Zoo’s shuttle be running?
No, for the safety of our guests, the Zoo shuttles do not run during WildLights. Private tours are also not available during WildLights.
What is the refund policy?
WildLights tickets are non-refundable. If you pre-purchased tickets, but are unable to attend, consider giving them as gifts to friends or family. WildLights is a rain or shine event.
What if it rains?
WildLights is a rain, wind, or shine event. Please plan appropriately and dress for the weather. WildLights tickets are non-refundable.
What can I do at the event?
WildLights is a magical winter wonderland complete with a million twinkling lights, light displays, and holiday fun. It is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit and make lasting memories with friends and family.
Included Experiences (with paid WildLights admission):
- Visits with Santa - Palm Garden
- Synchronized Light Zones
- New this year! The Dazzling Gift – Savannah’s Landing
- Tunnel of Lights -Events Area
- Discovery Center
- Village WaTuTu
- Arts and Crafts – Discovery Center
- Live Entertainment – Palm Garden
- Movies – Discovery Center
- Exploring the Zoo’s lighted pathways and light displays – throughout Africa. The majority of North America will be closed.
- Plentiful photo opportunities
- Visit with the animals of Africa
- Animal encounters and keeper chats
Upgraded Experiences (for an additional fee)
- Camel Connection
- S’mores Station – adjacent to the carousel
- Polar Express Train Ride – located in Gecko Gulch, adjacent to the Discovery Center
- Enjoy various food and beverage options – The Thorntree Grill and Safari Soft Serve in Village Watutu, The Kookaburra Café, the Churro Stop, Palm Garden Outdoor Grill, Beverage Cart in the Living Legacy Garden, S’mores Station
What about Santa?
Guests can meet and take a photo with Santa. Zoo volunteers will be on hand to help facilitate taking your photo.
Santa is available each WildLights evening between 6:00-9:00pm. Santa takes a break from 6:45-7:00pm and 7:45-8:00pm. The last admission into the Santa line is 8:45pm.
Santa will depart for the North Pole on Christmas Day, so he will not be at WildLights on December 26, 27, and 28.
How do I make the most of our WildLights evening?
- Purchase tickets in advance, either online here or at the self-service kiosks at the entrance and skip the lines
- Plan your route and activities
- Arrive before 6pm or after 7:30pm
- Dress warmly and for comfort
Are WildLights tours available?
WildLights is a self-guided experience. Group and private tours are not available during WildLights.
How do I purchase tickets for WildLights evening?
To save time, guests and members are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance online.
Click here for Member Ticket
Click here for Non-member Ticket
Guests and members may also purchase tickets at the admissions windows or kiosks.
Are my tickets valid any night of WildLights?
When tickets are purchased directly through The Living Desert, they may be used on any evening of WildLights. Other restrictions may apply when tickets are purchased through 3rd party resellers.
I purchased my tickets online, but never received the tickets or confirmation?
1. Try checking your SPAM or Junk email folders. The sender is “eGalaxy Store”
2. You will receive a confirmation email from "eGalaxy Store"
, and your ticket order will be attached as a PDF.
3. If you are unable to locate the tickets, please contact the Guest Experience Center for additional assistance at (760) 346-5694.
Do The Living Desert’s members receive special pricing?
Yes, member admission to WildLights is $12 per person. Wednesday, November 26th is the free members only evening at WildLights. We reserve the right to check member cards and photo IDs at the gate.
Do I need to bring my membership card and photo ID even though I used my ID number to buy my ticket online?
Yes, we reserve the right to check member cards and photo IDs at the gate.
Are group discounts available?
Yes, groups discounts are available for groups larger than 15 guests. However, the tickets must be purchased in advance and are not available for purchase onsite. To purchase group tickets, please call the Guest Experience Center at (760) 346-5694. All tickets must be purchased for a particular date of WildLights. The Living Desert will not have a will call available. Group discounts are for general admission tickets to WildLights only.