Make Holiday Memories at the Indianapolis Zoo

The 45th year of Christmas at the Zoo presented by Donatos and Teachers Credit Union begins Nov. 29

INDIANAPOLIS — A generous sprinkling of twinkling lights, a cup of hot cocoa and just a dash of snow — it’s the recipe for a wonderful holiday experience. Add in some fascinating animals and you have Christmas at the Zoo presented by Donatos and Teachers Credit Union.

Polar Bear at the Indianapolis ZooThis holiday tradition began in 1967 when then-director Earl Woodard wanted to decorate the Zoo with lights. That year, the Indianapolis Zoo became the first zoo in the United States to host a holiday lights event, and ever since, guests have come year after year to make holiday memories at the Zoo. Now entering its 45th year, visitors can experience the beauty and magic of the Zoo at Christmastime Wednesdays through Sundays from Nov. 29-Dec. 29, plus Dec. 23 and Dec. 30. The Zoo is open noon-9pm and festivities begin at 5pm. The Zoo is closed on Christmas Eve and Day.

Each year, Christmas at the Zoo brings together the best of the holiday season with a “wild” twist! Many of the Zoo’s more robust animals will be out late to enjoy the cooler weather, including the polar bear, tigers, red panda, brown bears, walrus and many others. Holiday-themed dolphin shows and special animal keeper chats will help guests get into the Christmas spirit. When visitors’ cheeks start to get rosy, they can dash inside to enjoy the animals in the Dolphin Dome and Oceans exhibit or the beautiful scenery inside the Hilbert Conservatory in White River Gardens.

As the sun sets, the Zoo will be covered in the colorful glow of twinkling lights. From the fun animal displays to the festive We Three Trees presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers, all of the Zoo’s holiday lights are LED energy efficient for the first time thanks to Damar Services. While taking in the displays, guests can sip a cup of hot cocoa, sample delicious holiday treats and enjoy carolers singing near the fireside. Additional activities await in White River Gardens inside Santa’s Workshop presented by Chick-fil-A, where the little ones will love decorating cookies with Mrs. Claus, writing letters to Santa and meeting Chris Cringle himself! Guests can also register to win one of two Dolphin In-Water Adventures by finding the mistletoe hidden around grounds.

Christmas at the Zoo is free for Zoo members and included with regular admission. Discount tickets are available at participating Donatos and Teachers Credit Union locations, and guests canalso always save when they purchase tickets in advance at

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About the Indianapolis Zoo

Located in White River State Park downtown, the Indianapolis Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Association of Museums as a zoo, aquarium and botanical garden. The Indianapolis Zoo empowers people and communities, both locally and globally, to advance animal conservation.