Christmas at the Zoo
presented by Donatos and Teachers Credit Union
5-9pm • Wednesday-Sunday • Nov. 23-Dec. 30
Surround yourself with the beauty and magic of the holiday season as we host the 44th year of Christmas at the Zoo presented by Donatos and Teachers Credit Union. Dating back to 1968, the Indianapolis Zoo was the first zoo in the United States to hold a holiday lights event, and since then, Christmas at the Zoo has become known for its spectacular holiday lights and displays. This year will be no exception! Visit animals that love cooler weather, walk the Zoo grounds covered in lights and enjoy holiday cheer. The Zoo opens at noon each Wednesday through Sunday, with holiday activities from 5-9pm each night. Christmas at the Zoo is a great place to make holiday memories! See some our favorite memories from years gone by in this video!
A trip to Christmas at the Zoo is unlike any other time of the year. As the sun sets over the White River State Park, enjoy the bright glow of the energy efficient holiday LED lights sponsored by Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, which create a magical nighttime experience. You'll find yourself eager to celebrate everything the holidays should be … plus animals! Several of the Zoo's hardiest will stay up late to enjoy the cooler nights, including the sea lions, polar bear, walrus, tigers and brown bears. You and your loved ones can keep warm as you dash between Oceans, the Dolphin Dome, Deserts, Café on the Commons, Santa's Sweet Shop and two campfires. Check out all the Christmas at the Zoo activities on the 2012 schedule and map. Then grab some hot cocoa and join in the fun!
NEW Location for Santa this year in White River Gardens
● Santa's Toy Shop features free visits with Santa (great photo packages available*)
● Cookie decorating* with Mrs. Claus in Mrs. Claus' Kitchen
● Letters to Santa
● Santa's Tropical Paradise located in the Hilbert Conservatory. See why Santa loves the tropics after the busy holiday season. Enjoy a festive scavenger hunt as well.
Energy Efficient Holiday LED Lights sponsored by Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC
● We Three Trees presented by Indianapolis Honda Dealers
● All-A-Glow Light Show
● All-new lights throughout Encounters
● Meet reindeer in the Entry Plaza
● Holiday-themed Dolphin Shows
● Four animal keeper chats
Carolers (before Christmas)
● Performances by local school choirs (at Café on the Commons)
● Traditional carolers singing around the back campfire. TIP: Come ready to request your favorite holiday songs!
Find the Mistletoe
● Be on the lookout for up to 10 mistletoes and register to win one of two Dolphin In-Water Adventures. TIP: Not all mistletoes need to be found in order to register.
Delicious Christmas Treats*
● Santa's Sweet Shop takes over the Outpost in the middle of the Zoo with oversized gourmet rice crispy treats, freshly baked cinnamon rolls and cookies, as well as homemade fudge and brownies.
● Santa's First Stop snack stop on the main path near the Entry Plaza.
● Whistle Stop snack stop across from the train ride
● Mrs. Claus' Kitchen snack stop in White River Gardens
● Zoo fare served at Café on the Commons
TIP: The purchase of a "Cup of Cheer" early in your visit can be worth its weight in gold. Get your cup refilled all night long with free hot drinks at any food service location!
Memorable Holiday Photo Ops*
● Front Gate as you enter
● Santa in Santa's Toy Shop at White River Gardens
● Sleigh in Oceans
TIP: Think you're too old for a photo with Santa? The sleigh in Oceans can fit grown adults and is great for group photos!
● Holiday Train Ride presented by Marathon
● The Wizard of Oz 4-D Experience in the 4-D Theater presented by Yellow Pages
TIP: Coming back next year? Ticket packages are valid for a full year, so you can use a few now and save a few for later!
Shop the Indianapolis Zoo Gift Shop for amazing animal-themed holiday decorations and the perfect gifts for everyone on your shopping list. Find apparel, home décor, plush animals, books, games and more!
WISH Tree Program
Once again, the Zoo will be a collection point for the WISH Tree program. Through Dec. 14, you can drop off any new toy at the collection boxes in the gift shops inside the Zoo and White River Gardens. WISH-TV will broadcast live from the Zoo on Friday, Nov. 30, and if you donate that day, you will receive a coupon valid that day for a free train ride! You'll also receive a 15 percent discount at the gift shops on the purchase of toy donations! Donations benefit the Salvation Army.
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