The L.A. Zoo is staying open after dark most nights through January during this delightful new take on its light-up holiday tradition.
The event’s “Animals Aglow” edition has gone all in on oversized animal-shaped lanterns, and the result is a colorful, charming trail that celebrates the zoo’s natural inhabitants. The lanterns inspired by the venue’s wild residents (elephants, giraffes, koalas and condors, among them) are plentiful and vibrant, and many of them come to life with playful movements (birds and butterflies flap their wings while a chameleon flicks its tongue). Flora shares some of the focus, too, particularly along the trail of pink cherry blossom lights.
Though Zoo Lights has eschewed just about all overtly Christmassy elements (a thematically focused upgrade, in our opinion), it hasn’t ditched interactive spectacle. You can stomp on a color-changing pathway, relax on illuminated swings, dance inside a shell of kaleidoscopic mirrors, squawk like a parrot and shuffle through a pulsating wisteria tunnel (expect to wait in a long but quick-moving line if you want to enter that light tunnel).
Buy your timed tickets (available in two sessions nightly) in advance to avoid the worst of the entry lines, and stick to the “value” nights if you want to save $5 on admission. Also, wear comfortable shoes; the lights only cover about a third of the zoo grounds, but you’ll be walking slightly uphill for most of the way.