Whether you like your holidays on the traditional side or served with a twist, you’ll find plenty of eye-popping, jaw-dropping wonder at L.A. Zoo Lights, which is delivering seasonal sights, sounds and delights nightly into January.
Though most of the animals will be asleep, you will be able to see reindeer each night and sit for a photo with Santa (on select dates). There’s a charming premise that ties everything together: A group of LED monkeys have comandeered a Christmas tree and the zoo’s power supply. The glowing “Animal Power" cord they’ve draped across the grounds electrifies everything from desert flora laced with lights to a purple, disco ball-filled forest. Standout displays include elephant statues animated with projection mapping, a twinkly light tunnel and “ZOOray for Hollywood,” a festive interpretation of L.A. landmarks. For better or worse, it’s a tasteful, sometimes understated display, but L.A. Zoo Lights has already become an L.A. holiday staple.
Tip: Buy your tickets in advance to avoid the worst of the entry lines. Also, tickets are a typically a few dollars cheaper during the first week of Zoo Lights. And 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.