Zoo Lights is BACK at the Houston Zoo!

This year the Houston Zoo celebrates its eleventh year as one of Houston’s most dazzling holiday traditions, TXU Energy presents Zoo Lights! Through January 9, visitors can take in the sights and sounds of the season as they enjoy the beautiful Zoo grounds illuminated with earth-friendly LED bulbs.

In addition to fan favorites, there are several new Zoo Lights features this year. They’ve added more large animal lanterns along the path, including elephants under the oak trees at the reflection pool, monkeys hanging from trees, and giraffes peaking around corners in the African Forest. The Children’s Zoo plaza is transformed into a dance floor with moving lights in sync with holiday music. The dance floor is for all ages, but it’s been especially popular with the kids.

The reflection pool area is home to hundreds of glowing tulips synchronized to music under the giant illuminated oak trees with large zebra, tiger, and elephant lanterns placed throughout the tulips. New last year, but quickly becoming a fan favorite, is the hanging pollinator garden where guests can walk under a canopy of glowing butterflies as dancing flowers are projected on the floor. Guests can also experience a glowing underwater adventure as they walk under illuminated jellyfish and through thousands of bubbles as the Great Ape Gallery transforms into the Illuminated Ocean.

Before you leave don’t forget to stop by Santa’s Workshop to say hi and to take a photo with Santa in his workshop. He will be at the Zoo until December 23. Don’t miss out.

On Monday, December 5 the Zoo will hold Sensory Friendly Night designed for guests with sensory sensitivities and their families. On this Zoo Lights night, guests can expect a smaller crowd, quieter music, limited flashing lights, and designated quiet areas.

Tickets for TXU Energy presents Zoo Lights are only sold online at houstonzoo.org. Make sure to buy early for the best price.

Gifts for Every Animal Lover

Zoo Lights tickets make great gifts. In fact, the Houston Zoo has a variety of gifts ideas for the animal lover in your life. Whether you give Zoo Lights tickets, an adopted Zoo animal, a gift membership, a holiday Cameo greeting, or an unforgettable animal encounter, they’ll love their unique gift. You can even buy ornaments painted by the animals at the Zoo! With every gift you’ll also help support animals at the Zoo and help save animals in the wild. Skip the crowds and shop online for holiday gifts from the Houston Zoo this year. 

Animal Encounters are one-of-a-kind opportunities to meet zookeepers and get up close to your favorite animals, including sloths, elephants, orangutans, and more. Each encounter is an interactive experience designed with the animals’ welfare in mind. Get a tour of the space, meet the animals, and spend some time with a keeper to learn how the animals are cared for, the challenges they might face in the wild, and what you can do at home to help save them in the wild. New in 2023, you will be able to get up close and hear all about the giant anteaters in the Zoo’s recent exhibit, South America’s Pantanal.

Keepers at the Zoo work to enrich the lives of the animals in their care every day by introducing fun, interesting, and complex activities, such as painting, to the animals’ daily routine. Using non-toxic paint on canvas and a little help from their keepers, animals create their very own masterpieces. From paw prints to sea lion kisses, each artists’ creation is one of a kind. You can order your own animal art masterpiece or give one as a unique holiday gift. The Zoo also has holiday ornaments painted by the animals, including Methai the elephant.

Give your favorite animal lover the gift that keeps giving all year long, the gift of a Houston Zoo Membership. Members get in free all year with no reservations needed. They also enjoy other benefits like discounted Zoo Lights tickets, priority registration for summer camp, early access during monthly member mornings, and more. Zoo membership is a unique present everyone is sure to enjoy.

Learn more about these gift ideas and how you can buy yours at houstonzoo.org

Penguins Are Coming to Houston

The Houston Zoo ends 2022 with Zoo Lights with many exciting events in store for 2023 – including bringing penguins to Houston! In the spring Houston Zoo will open Galápagos Islands, the first major exhibit of its kind to feature the diverse wildlife of the islands. The new exhibit will immerse guests in the island’s unique environment and animal habitats. 

When the exhibit opens, it will include a state-of-the-art habitat for Humboldt penguins. Humboldt penguins are a great fit for Houston, since they originate from Chile and Peru in South America where it can get as warm as 100 degrees. With penguins, sea lions, giant tortoises, sharks, and more, Galápagos Islands will add an extraordinary immersive experience to the Houston Zoo.

Visit houstonzoo.org for more information.