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WildLights at Woodland Park Zoo

One of Seattle's Biggest Christmas Light Displays

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Nothing says Christmas like Christmas lights. And few places in Seattle have more Christmas lights on display than WildLights at Woodland Park Zoo! Especially given that this year, the number of lights will be nearly doubled from what the zoo had last year.

1. 2013 WildLights Dates and Admission Cost

WildLights at Woodland Park Zoo
Ryan Hawk and Woodland Park Zoo

When: November 29 - January 4, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Closed December 24 and 25.

How much: Admission costs $9.50 for adults and $6.40 for kids 3 to 12. Discounts are available for members, corporate, military, or if you buy in advance. You can buy tickets once you get to the zoo or in advance from the Woodland Park Zoo website.

Need more Christmas lights? Also check out Christmas light displays in the area, Zoolights in Tacoma, and Fantasy Lights in Spanaway!

2. What kind of light displays will I see at WildLights?

WildLights
Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren and Woodland Park Zoo

Each year, WildLights decks out the zoo grounds surrounding the North Meadow with lights, including a number of special displays. In 2012, there were 375,000 energy-efficient LEDs. In 2013, the zoo is upping the ante to 575,000 LEDs, which use just 112 watts of power each night. Much like other Christmas light displays like Zoolights in Tacoma, Fantasy Lights in Spanaway, or Bellevue Garden D’Lights, displays are sometimes 3D and sometimes 2D. Some of the displays are animated too!

Past displays have included the Northern Lights, The Water Hole and Jungle Lights, favorites which will all be back in 2013. Northern Lights is one of the most iconic WildLights displays with animated bears, moose and other Northwest animals underneath a twinkling sky and recreated Northern Lights. There will be some new displays to see as well--Monkey Business, Glow-rillas, Komodo Crossing, Eagles Nest and Grizzly Creek.

3. Is WildLights fun for adults, too?

WildLights
Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren and Woodland Park Zoo
It goes without saying that young children love the magic of walk-through Christmas light displays, but don’t think that this event is only for kids. If Christmas lights still give you any warm fuzzy Christmas feelings at all, WildLights is worth checking out. If you’re going with a significant other or a group of friends or even by yourself, skip the carousel and Snowmazium, which are designed for kids, and enjoy a stroll through the displays.

4. Are the animals awake?

If you visit the zoo for WildLights, don’t count on a usual zoo visit. The event takes place after hours and most of the animals are asleep. Cages and enclosures are dark and it’s not polite to try to wake them, but there are still some animals up late for a visit. In the Day Exhibit, you can see reptiles, amphibians and an endangered tree kangaroo. On Fridays and weekends, a zookeeper will show off a few raptors outside of the Raptor Barn. You can also check out other nocturnal animals like Indian flying foxes and sloths, as well as meerkats, which aren’t nocturnal, but are always happy to see visitors. There will also be a pair of reindeer near the carousel.

5. What else can I do at WildLights?

Ride the Historic Carousel, which will be all lit up and twinkly. Rides are $2.

For the duration of WildLights, the Zoomazium will become the Snowmazium, where the whole family can enjoy faux-snowball fights, falling fake snow, snow stories and more wintery fun.

Do a holiday craft (all sustainable!) or shop for holiday souvenirs and ornaments.

Enjoy a snack. The Rain Forest Food Pavilion will be closed during WildLights, but the Pacific Blue Chowder House is open for business and there are plenty of food stands throughout the grounds. There’s no finer way to stay warm than to grab a hot chocolate or a hot fudge puppy!

Winters in the Northwest are frequently (almost always) rainy so plan ahead. Bring rain gear and warm clothing as WildLights doesn’t close or offer refunds on rainy days!

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