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 17 – January 7, 2024. 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

Sounds of the Season presented by WODC 93.3 the Bus. Feel the holiday spirit as local choirs, bands, and musical groups perform at 7 p.m. at the Lakeside Pavilion stage on select nights, setting the perfect festive atmosphere.

12 Days of Wildlights train ride. Experience the 12 Days of Christmas in a whole new light and hop aboard this magical train ride as you sing along to our own Zoo-themed rendition.

Jolliest Holiday Craft Beer Celebration which offers guests ages 21+ the opportunity to sample seasonal craft beers, ciders, and seltzers at locations throughout the park. Weather permitting. (Additional fee.)

Sparkling Spruce presented by Diamond Cellar: Behold a towering animated holiday tree that dazzles with a symphony of lights and sound.

Wildlights Sparkling Spruce

Jingle Jam, presented by Nationwide: features six seasonal tunes and 36 spheres of light illuminating the Shores Play Park.

Holiday Magic Animated Light Display at Conservation Lake: a spectacular display of light set to festive songs to bring out the holiday spirit in everyone.

Holiday Tree Trail: Take a self-guided stroll through this indoor display of beautifully decorated trees representing each of the four parks and the eight regions of the Zoo, along with influences of the lovable Character Ambassadors. Guests can wrap up their visit with a photo opportunity with the larger-than-life ornaments paying tribute to their favorite destinations.

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

Conservation Courtyard Christmas Tree featuring large silver and gold animal ornaments.

S’mores Experience, where guests can roast a giant marshmallow while taking in the sights and sounds of Wildlights on the shores of Conservation Lake. Weather permitting. (Additional fee.)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 4-D®: Guests are invited on an extraordinary 4-D adventure this holiday season. (Additional fees apply.)

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

Reindeer Corral: On your way to visit Santa, be sure to visit some relatives of Santa’s reindeer team.

1914 Mangels-Ilions Carousel: Take a spin on a timeless carousel ride that will make you feel like a kid again. (Additional fees and rider restrictions apply.)

Santa Experience: Share your holiday wishes with Santa himself! Schedule a visit and take a keepsake photo (reservations recommended). Please note that after December 23, Santa will not be available due to other obligations.

Rudolph and Friends Character Experience: Located in the Polar Frontier region’s underwater viewing area, guests are invited to step into Bumble’s care and meet some of the beloved characters of the classic television special, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Rudolph, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, and Yukon Cornelius will be available at select times to greet their fans and create some holiday memories that only these loveable classic characters can!

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: $29.99

Senior (60+): $27.99

Child: $25.99

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.