Bay Area Holiday Fun: Oakland ZooLights

A festive good time right here in the San Francisco Bay Area: Oakland Zoo's "ZooLights".
Today's post is all about the "wild" holiday fun in store after hours at the Oakland Zoo!

What exactly is "ZooLights"
It's a family friendly holiday event hosted at the Oakland Zoo, here in the Bay Area. This year the holiday event runs from December 6th, 2019 to January 5th, 2020. For ticket information, as well additional event information, check the official Oakland ZooLights page HERE.
ZooLights is an after hours event that transforms the beloved zoo and its pathways into a holiday light wonderland. There's tons of beautiful lighted displays all around, special holiday activities like a Santa meet and greet, snowfall, treats and just a lot of family friendly holiday fun. Most of the zoo's animal inhabitants are not viewable since they'll be in their "nighttime houses" but there's still so much to see and do without our animal pals. 

ZooLights Highlights
Here are a few highlights from this year's festivities:

Adventure Landing:
This is the perfect area for your little ones! The area is home to a kid friendly rides, a snack area, and the zoo's train ride *attractions are an additional cost to regular admission*. The highlight of the area though and one that shouldn't be missed is the the "Adventure Train". The train is lit up for the event and takes you around the zoo to soak in the holiday lights and through the Australian Outback. You may even come across some of the zoo's most adorable pals. On our particular ride we encountered a few Wallaroo!

Flamingo Plaza:
Located at the entrance of the zoo, you'll encounter some magical snowfall as well as the start to all the magical holiday light displays.

Light Displays:
There's various lighted displays and festive lights set up all around there zoo. Be on the lookout for giant bird displays, elephant lights, forests filled with twinkling stars and dripping light-cicles, and so much more! We personally loved the fun light displays in the Children's Zoo area. Every on of the displays are not only fun to gaze at, but also make for cute photo backdrops, too.

Don't miss the laser and light show that is set to a fun holiday soundtrack. It's located in the large grassy area near the Children's Zoo area and happens often throughout the night. It's a cute little show that all ages will enjoy.

Meet Santa!
Santa Claus has landed at the Oakland Zoo and he greets guests nightly from December 6-23rd between 6-9pm. 

Warming Stations:
The Oakland Zoo can definitely get chilly on these cold holiday nights so be sure to bundle up! The zoo keeps two attractions open, the Reptile and Amphibian House (frogs, lizards, turtles and snakes, oh my!) along with the insect and bug house (creepy crawlers of all sorts) open to guests as "warming stations". It's a great way to soak in a little bit of the zoo and escape the chill outdoors.

Another do not miss is the Zoo's special gondolas! Not only are they lit up like little floating holiday cubes at night on the exterior, but they provide some spectacular views while on them! Once you arrive a the top, there's a few more fun photo spots, light displays and the cafe that serves your standard burgers, soft drinks and fries and is great for a little snack break. Don't forget to head out onto the terrace for some amazing views of the Bay Area. We were there on an especially clear night and it was absolutely beautiful!

Our Video Recap
I've just realized I didn't capture as many photos from our time at ZooLights since I busy soaking in the fun. But I did happen to record a lot and compiled it all into a video recap for our new YouTube channel! Check it out below:

A must visit for the holidays!
As you can see, there's tons of holiday fun to be had at the Oakland ZooLights this year. This was our second year attending and it was even better than last year! A few tips if you decide to visit:
  • Dress warmly, it gets COLD!
  • Arrive right when the event starts and if you decide to do the train, get on that first! That was the first thing we did and there was barely a line, but once we checked out the area mid way through the event there was a substantial line that formed. Try to go on a weekday or Sunday. We visited on a Saturday last season and it was packed. Our Sunday visit was busy, but not as crazy as peak Saturday timing. 
  • Enjoy! The Oakland Zoo is beautiful and to see it lit up with holiday lights is even more magical at night. Grab your loved ones, bring them to the zoo and be ready for lots of holiday fun together!

 It was a wild holiday time at the Oakland ZooLights and we're already looking forward to next year's seasonal fun. Thank you for reading along!💜

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