Join the thousands of visitors who make ZooLights a part of their annual holiday tradition. A free event, 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 complete with a dazzling light show set to music!
This year's special nights include BrewLights, Nov. 30. Please note: ZooLights remains free and open to the public even during special event nights!
Thaw your paws in the animal exhibit buildings and see the nocturnal critters! The Small Mammal House, Reptile Discovery Center, and Think Tank are open every night.
Rides and attractions include:
- The Smithsonian's National Zoo Choo-Choo: take a merry tour on a trackless train that whisks guests around the Great Cats exhibit and features gorgeous views of the holiday light displays.
- Snow-less Tubing: take the plunge down one of the 150-foot-long tracks—no snow necessary!
- Speedwell Foundation Conservation Carousel: hop on to your choice of 50 animal figurines, as the carousel highlights the Zoo's incredible research and success stories.
*Please note, all ZooLights attractions are weather permitting. Attractions may not be open during times when temperatures are below 36 degrees.
Warm up with hot chocolate, coffee, eggnog, and mulled cider. Indulge in roasted nuts, kettle corn, s'mores, holiday cookies, and gingerbread.
Adults can get into the holiday spirit with a specialty spiked hot chocolate, wine, or beer. The Zoo's restaurants will also be serving their complete menu in addition to seasonal specials. Food and beverages will be available in the Visitor Center and throughout the park.
Check back for more information on the 2017 Military Night at ZooLights.
Active duty military families are invited for an evening of special activities. Last year's perks included:
- Visit the Elephant House’s Pachyderm Plaza, open exclusively for active duty military families (with valid ID)
- Complimentary refreshments (while supplies last)
- Complimentary pass for carousel, tubing, or train ride (one per child)
- 10% off gift shop items, locations throughout the Zoo
- $5 off parking (please note parking is limited and costs $22)
- Photo opportunity with vintage Army Jeep
Check back for more information on the 2017 FONZ Member Week at ZooLights.
2016 FONZ Member Week Featured:
A full week of exclusive perks at ZooLights, including a set of coupons for tubing, train, carousel rides, and an exclusive glow-in-the-dark wristband. Plus, FREE parking* all week! Renew or upgrade your membership during ZooLights and get a free panda tote bag!
*Members must present their membership card and matching photo ID to redeem parking, coupon pack and member giveaways. Coupons and giveaways are available at any guest services information booth while supplies last. All offers are only applicable Dec. 3 through Dec. 10. Parking during all other weeks of ZooLights is half-off for members.
FONZ Members-only Lounge
The Elephant Community Center transformed into the FONZ Member Lounge. Inside this exclusive space, FONZ members warmed up while enjoying complimentary drinks, festive goodies, a special view of the elephants and interpreter talks.
Please note: A FONZ membership card and matching photo ID are required for admission. Location subject to change in the event of inclement weather or animal care needs.
Shuttles: 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 burgundy and cream double-decker buses running every 20 minutes
Parking & Rates:
Parking is limited. Please arrive early for guaranteed parking at ZooLights.