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Celebrate the Season at ZooLights December 4 through January 2

Tickets are now on sale for ZooLights, the National Zoo’s 3rd annual winter celebration, featuring sculptures of the Zoo’s animals in LED lights. ZooLights, powered by Pepco, will take place December 4-13 (Friday through Sunday nights) and December 18-January 2 (every night except Dec. 24, 25, and 31) from 6-8:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) members and $8 for nonmembers.

People of all ages and stages of life will find something to love in the ZooLights nightly entertainment lineup, which includes keeper talks, roving musicians, "dancing trees," lectures about energy conservation, photo opportunities with costumed characters, and performances by Flumpa® and Friends Live (December 26-29) and Blue Sky Puppet Theater (all other nights). Children and grandparents alike will enjoy strolling past magical lighted animal and winter scenes, nine of which are new this year.

In addition, special activities and giveaways are planned for December 4 (Opening Night), December 12 (Giant "Zootrition" Night), December 18 (Date Night), December 19 (SunTrust Night), and December 26 (Hair Cuttery Night). On Military Nights (December 6, 11, 13, 20-23, December 27-January 1), admission is free for military personnel with military photo IDs and their spouses and children.

"ZooLights offers a great way for friends and family to celebrate the season and to experience the Zoo in a peaceful evening setting," said Greg Melanson, deputy executive director of Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ). "This reasonably-priced event is bigger and better than ever, while providing needed support to the Zoo."

In addition to cameras, participants are encouraged to bring along canned goods. Throughout ZooLights, the Zoo will collect nonperishable foods in their gift shops to benefit Marshall Heights Community Development Organization. Participants in the food drive will receive 10 percent off their retail purchases in the shops that evening.

Tickets can be purchased at www.fonz.org/zoolights.htm, through Ticketmaster (202-397-SEAT), at the Zoo's gift shops (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.), or at the event.

Proceeds from ZooLights support animal care, conservation science, education, and sustainability at the National Zoo. Although ZooLights tickets include parking, the Zoo encourages participants to take Metrorail or Metrobus. The first 25 people each night to present their Metro farecard or SmarTrip card at the Mane Restaurant will receive a free holiday cookie.

The Zoo will close to the public at 4 p.m. each day of ZooLights. For a complete schedule of activities, go to www.fonz.org/zoolights.htm.

ZooLights is supported by a generous donation from Pepco. Other sponsors include The Coca-Cola Company, Comcast, Giant Food, Hair Cuttery, NewsChannel 8, Rosenthal Jaguar/Land Rover, SunTrust Bank, United Airlines, and 97.1 WASH.