ZooLights, Powered by Pepco

November 27 – January 1: 5 - 9PM (Except December 24, 25, 31)

Join the thousands of visitors who make ZooLights a part of their annual holiday tradition. ZooLights includes live music performances, tasty winter treats, and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping.

More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland. New this year will be a dazzling light show set to music!


Thaw your paws in our exhibit buildings and see our nocturnal critters! The Small Mammal House, Great Ape House, Reptile Discovery Center, Think Tank, and Kids' Farm, sponsored by State Farm®, will be open every night. Free!


Welcome to Zoo-magination Station. Trains, trains and more trains journey through a land of Legos, an alphabet countryside, and a magical animal party in the Zoo's Visitors Center.

Speedwell Foundation Conservation Carousel

Begin a new tradition during your ZooLights visit: a ride on the Conservation Carousel! Hop on to your choice of 58 animal figurines, as the carousel highlights the Zoo's incredible research and success stories. It is one of the few carousels in the world powered by solar energy, thanks to a generous donation by Pepco Energy Services. The carousel is a new spin on conservation. $3 per ride.

Zoo Tubing on Lion/Tiger Hill

Sponsored by GEICO
It doesn't have to be a white holiday season to enjoy your favorite snow games. Lion/Tiger Hill will be a winter wonderland complete with two 150' long "snow tubing" tracks! Be sure to take the plunge down this magical snowless track. $3 per ride.

National Zoo Choo-choo

Take a merry tour through the Zoo on the National Zoo Choo-Choo. This trackless train whisks guests all around the Kids' Farm exhibit that features gorgeous views of the Zoo's holiday light displays. $3 per ride.

FONZ Members-only Lounge

Every Saturday night of ZooLights (November 28, December 5, 12, 19, 26) the Elephant Community Center will be transformed into The Warm Up and Chill Out Lounge sponsored by Celebrity Cruises. Inside this exclusive space, FONZ members will enjoy complimentary drinks and themed goodies generously provided by Celebrity Cruises.

Please note: your FONZ membership card and matching photo ID are required for admission.

Gin-GRR-Bread Contest

The Gin-GRR-bread Habitat Competition celebrates the National Zoo's animal collection. Let your imagination run wild while you design and build a habitat based on the theme (TBD). Win great Zoo prizes!

Panda Claws

Watch out for Panda Claws, the official ZooLights ambassador, from 5:30-8:30 PM each night. Free photo ops!

Pepco – Smart Energy

Pepco will present energy talks in the Think Tank exhibit to illuminate the best ways to save energy. Guests will receive free giveaways and learn how to conserve energy in their homes.

Performing Arts Stage

Enjoy nightly performance on The Meadow (near the Great Ape House) from 25 area music groups.

Food and Drink

Warm up your night with hot chocolate, coffee, eggnog, and mulled cider. Indulge in roasted nuts, kettle corn, s'mores, holiday cookies, and gingerbread. Parents get into the holiday spirit with a specialty spiked hot chocolate, a glass of wine, or a cold beer. And everyone will enjoy dinner at the Zoo's restaurants, which will be serving their complete menu plus seasonal specials. Concessions located in the Visitor Center and throughout the park.


Make holiday shopping an eco-friendly affair at the Zoo's gift shops located throughout the park. Find a Zoo-themed present for everyone on your holiday list! Children will love our toys and books; while adults will appreciate that their gift supports the National Zoo's mission. Don't forget, FONZ memberships and Adopt a Species packages make great gifts too! Browse the online store.

Strollers and More

Strollers, electric scooters, and wheelchairs are available at the Panda Plaza and Lion/Tiger Information Booths. Limited numbers are available; first come, first served.


Every Saturday night enjoy a complimentary shuttle ride from the Woodley Park metro station to the Zoo, generously provided by Big Bus Tours. Look for the red double decker buses that will be running every 20 minutes.


Parking is limited and rates are $10 for FONZ members and $20 for non-members.


Thank you to our generous sponsors

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