Photo by Joe Vigil
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – With the arrival of shorter days and darker nights, the Alaska Zoo will brighten up its trails and spread holiday cheer with the return of its annual Zoo Lights display starting at 5 p.m., Friday, Nov. 24.
Instead of waiting in long Black Friday lines at retail stores, the zoo invites everyone to come enjoy the kick off of its dazzling light display, sponsored by BP. The Alaska Zoo will sweeten the deal during an online-only Zoo Lights ticket sale on Cyber Monday, Nov. 27, from 12 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.
At Zoo Lights throughout the winter months, animated and themed animal light parades will illuminate the zoo trails as families bundle up and take in the sights. While the cold winter months can keep even the toughest Alaskans indoors, they are relished by the zoo’s Arctic and sub-Arctic animals and also lead to increased animal activity. During winter months, resident wolves, tigers, snow leopards and more become more active.
“We love winter at the Alaska Zoo, as our cold-climate animals become more playful, and our trails are lit up with twinkling Zoo Lights. A longstanding local favorite, the annual light display makes for the perfect backdrop for date night, family outings or weekend activities with friends and family visiting throughout the winter months,” said Alaska Zoo Executive Director Patrick Lampi.
Also this winter, visitors can spread the spirit of giving with their favorite animal friends. On Dec. 10, from 3 – 6 p.m., the Alaska Zoo will celebrate Christmas for the Animals, an annual food drive that invites guests to fill animals’ stockings with the wildest of holiday treats. A complete list of suggested donation items is available at www.alaskazoo.org. Those in attendance will enjoy Zoo Lights, beginning at 5 p.m., while visiting with the animals and being be treated to Kaladi Brothers Coffee, hot cocoa, popcorn and holiday music. The event and Zoo Lights admission for the evening are free for Alaska Zoo members, and the zoo is encouraging visitors to renew or purchase a membership online in advance. All other attendees pay general admission from 3 – 5 p.m., or $8 after 5 p.m. Children under the age of two are admitted free.
Attendees of all ages can catch Zoo Lights every Thursday – Sunday from Nov. 24, 2017 – Jan. 28, 2018, from 5 – 8 p.m. The Alaska Zoo will also offer extended hours and a special schedule during the holiday break to accommodate students and their families, with Zoo Lights on display seven nights a week from Dec. 17, 2017 – Jan. 7, 2018. Until Jan. 28, 2018, Zoo Lights are from 5 – 8 p.m. From Feb. 1 – March 4, 2018, the lights will shine a little later, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., due to the increase in sunlight that time of year.
Zoo Lights tickets can be purchased in advance online and are valid for any scheduled Zoo Lights day during Zoo Lights hours. Alaska Zoo annual membership holders receive a discount on Zoo Lights tickets, and children under two years old are admitted free. Annual memberships are now available online and make the perfect holiday gift for animal lovers and families. The Alaska Zoo is closed on Thanksgiving Day as well as Christmas Day and is now operating on winter hours from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
About the Alaska Zoo
The Alaska Zoo is a nonprofit organization that has provided a home for orphaned, injured and captive-born animals for more than 45 years. Open year-round, the zoo is dedicated to promoting conservation of and Arctic and sub-Arctic species through education, research and community enrichment. Additional information on admission rates, history, animals and more is available at www.alaskazoo.org.