I couldn’t put a proper close on the holidays without going to see a spectacular light display. The Los Angeles Zoo Lights caught my attention since it seemed to be one of the places trending on Instagram for this kind of thing. I know what you’re thinking – is the city zoo really the place to go see Christmas lights? What about the animals? Wouldn’t the lights, the noise, and the crowds disturb them? My dear boyfriend presented this kind skepticism when I proposed we go check it out. How romantic, right?
Passive aggressiveness towards my boyfriend aside (totally kidding, I love him and his concern for animals), I found the evening at the zoo to be pleasant and completely tame (pun definitely intended). Here is a breakdown of my opinion of this holiday-specific excursion:
- I went on the last day of the display and found a really great price on Groupon (see below)
- Parking is free!
- There were a couple of really great exhibits, such as the Water Laser Show, the Tunnel of Lights, and a nicely lit forest grove with a disco ball
- Most of the animals were put away or in a location not accessible during the event – it seems like they weren’t really disturbed too much by the guests. The reptile room was open.
- The zoo sells food, snacks, holiday treats, and yes, alcohol!
- It was crowded. This may have been because it was the last day, but I can imagine it being even more crowded on days around Christmas.
- Pricing varies depending on the night you go, so if your budget is tight it requires some planning ahead.
Price: If you were to buy tickets at the gate or on the LA Zoo website, they cost $21.95 for premium nights (most weekends and holidays) and $14.95 for value nights (typically weekdays that fall outside of Christmas and New Years’ week).
Groupon also offered discounts for specific nights, so if they happened to offer a coupon for the day you were planning on going then a premium night ticket would be reduced to $14.95. I personally went on the last day (a Sunday) of the approximately month-long display. I found a Groupon posted three days before I went which offered admission for the last weekend of the event for $11.25.
Is it worth it? My verdict is that it’s a nice one-time experience. It was fun and festive to walk around and see a concentration of animal-themed bright lights. Since a lot of the zoo was closed off to the public, it did make for a smaller space which made the crowds a lot harder to navigate. There are lots of other places to see holiday lights in Los Angeles (some are free!), so I do think I’ll be going to a different place next year to mix it up.