Each year, the holidays descend on the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium during Wildlights. Millions of twinkling LED lights dust the trees throughout the zoo making for a stunning winter wonderland for the whole family. 

Want to make the most out of your trip? Here’s what you need to know about Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo.

Holiday light display on the lake at the Columbus Zoo

When to Visit

Wildlights run from November 18 – January 1. Their hours are Sunday - Thursday, 5 - 9 p.m., and Friday - Saturday, 5 - 10 p.m. (Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).

Things to See

The Sparkling Spruce - There’s no better way to be greeted than by a giant Christmas Tree for the holidays. Snap a picture in front of the famous Sparkling Spruce located just inside the gates and stick around for its special lights show.

Wildlights Sparkling Spruce

Meet & Greets - The kiddos will love a Meet and Greet with characters like Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Herme the Elf, Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snowman. Don’t forget your camera for the perfect selfie! Also, stop by the 4-D theatre just outside the aquarium for a showing of Rudolph.

Santa Experience -  Enjoy the ability to speak with Santa, as well as take part in a safe and fun photo opportunity. Reservations are encouraged. Additional fees may apply. Please note that Santa will not be available after December 23 due to other obligations. 

Rudolph 4D Experience® - Guests are invited on an extraordinary 4-D adventure this holiday season with RUDOLPH 4D! Join Rudolph, Hermey the Elf, and their friends on this epic adventure. Additional fees may apply.

Cold Weather-Loving Animals - Take this opportunity to see the animals that thrive in these cooler temperatures including the sea lions at Adventure Cove and, of course, the reindeer—will be outside during the festivities.

reindeer - zoo

Holiday Magic Animated Lights Show - Ready your dance moves! The Animated Lights Shows surrounding the pond near the entrance feature your favorite holiday tunes. Don’t worry if you miss it coming in – shows begin every 30 minutes.

Wildlights Shores Park at the Columbus Zoo

Carousel - It’s the merriest time of year to hop on the Merry-Go-Round. Located just past the Aquarium, your little ones can hop on the Carousel for a spinning good time. 48” or taller can ride without a parent which means more hot cocoa for you! $2 per ride. Other Wildlights rides include the Polar Bear Express train ride and camel rides. 

S'mores Experience - Gather around a glowing fire to roast their own giant marshmallow and enjoy this favorite holiday treat. Additional fees apply.

NEW! 12 Days of Wildlights Train RideExperience the 12 Days of Christmas in a whole new light and hop aboard this magical train ride. $2 per ride.

Train ride at Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo 


The Columbus Zoo is located in Powell, just north of Dublin. If you are coming from out of town, click here for our suggestions on places to stay. Don’t forget $10 for parking!

Find a map of the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium here.


Adults: $24.99

Child/Senior: $18.99 

Under 3: Free

Parking $10 

Grab the family and get in the spirit of the season at Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium. Share your memories with us using #SoDublin

Find more holiday happenings in Dublin here.