Dive into glow-rious nights as Zoolights celebrates its 30th anniversary


Tickets are now on sale for the 30th anniversary edition of Zoolights, the Puget Sound region’s longest-running and most-loved holiday lights display. Zoolights runs from 5 to 9 p.m. nightly Nov. 23. – Jan. 6 at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. Guests may purchase tickets online at www.pdza.org/zoolights.

Discounted general admission to this exciting holiday-season tradition is just $10 per person for tickets purchased online or at the Customer Service counters of Puget Sound-area Fred Meyer stores. The discounted tickets will be available in those stores later this month. Fred Meyer is the presenting sponsor of Zoolights.

General admission tickets purchased at the zoo’s front gate are $12 per person. Zoo members, however, get a big discount. Tickets for members are just $6 each online or at the zoo entrance. Admission is free for all children two and under. Parking is free; carpooling is encouraged.

And guests to the 2018 edition of Zoolights will see the biggest, brightest, most eye-popping displays ever. Many will carry a sea-animal theme in honor of the new Pacific Seas Aquarium, which opened in September.

The Pacific Seas Aquarium will be open during daylight zoo hours only, so visitors who want to view real sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, spotted eagle rays and other sea creatures in their amazing new home may want to purchase Day/Night Combo Passes to visit the zoo and all of its animals during daytime operating hours and then stay as it comes aglow with animals in lights at 5 p.m.

Day/Night Combo Passes are available only at the zoo’s front gate. Prices are $17 for tots ages 3-4; $21 for youths from 5-12; $24 for seniors 65 and up; and $25 for adults, 13-64. Children 2 and younger are admitted at no charge. The combo passes are a wonderful treat for family outings and out-of-town guests who can visit the zoo, see the new aquarium with its stunning 280,000-gallon Baja Bay exhibit and huge variety of sea animals, plus watch polar bears, sea otters, walruses and dozens of other Pacific Rim animals at play.

Zoolights guests will see dozens of lighted sea-and-land-animal figurines, including a 100-foot-wide octopus, sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, a crab complete with moving pincers, majestic eagle rays, red wolves howling at the moon, ice skating puffins, a tiger cub chasing a butterfly, a carnivorous plant and more. Plus, thousands of strands of colorful lights cover tree and shrubs around the zoo, bathing visitors in the glow of more than 700,000 energy-efficient LEDs.

And favorite displays will dazzle visitors. There’s the 23-foot-tall replica of Mount Rainier, complete with glaciers in rivers of lights; the twin Narrows Bridges, the 30,030-light Flame Tree, the Seahawks Zone with its 12th Man Tree and more.

It’s quite a change from the comparatively few designs and mere 55,000 lights that were displayed that first year of Zoolights in 1988.

Some real animals will be available for viewing during Zoolights, too. The steamy South Pacific Aquarium with its 16 massive sharks will be open every night of Zoolights. There also will be an animal in the Asian Forest Sanctuary Day Room every night, plus goat feeding, meerkat viewing and camel rides.

For more information, go to www.pdza.org/zoolights.

Zoolights Information

Open: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. nightly Nov. 23 – Jan. 6 (one night closure on Dec. 24); Open on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

What’s to see and do: Walk the zoo and see incredible animal displays in lights; marvel at iconic landmarks rendered in scale and great detail; feed a goat; ride a camel; grab a cup of hot chocolate and warm up in the steamy South Pacific Aquarium, home to 16 massive sharks. Look to see who’s awake – or perhaps taking a tiger “cat” nap – in the Asian Forest Sanctuary Day Room.

Special note: The new Pacific Seas Aquarium will be closed during Zoolights, but the South Pacific Aquarium will be open.

Zoolights tickets: $10 online at www.pdza.org/zoolights beginning Nov. 1 and later in the month at the Customer Service counters of all Puget Sound-area Fred Meyer stores; $12 General Admission at the front gate.

Special Zoolights Discount Nights

Military Discount Nights (Active duty military, veterans and dependents. Proof of service required.) $9 per person at the front gate only on Nov. 26, 28; Dec. 3, 5, 10, 12, 17 and 19.

Scout Discount Night: Dec. 4. $9 per member of Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Camp Fire wearing pins or uniforms, plus their guests.

Day/Night Combo Passes to see the zoo during the day and Zoolights at night: May be purchased only at the front gate and range in price from $17 to $25 depending on age.
Children under 2: Admitted free to the zoo during the day and to Zoolights.

Parking: Free; carpooling is encouraged.

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