San Antonio Zoo gets lit


Katelyn Wilkinson, The Paisano

Katelyn Wilkinson

That time of year is upon us again: colder Texas weather, Christmas music and the San Antonio Zoo’s annual Zoo Lights. From Nov. 18, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017, lovers of lights can visit after normal hours and see the zoo decked out for the holidays.

If you’re expecting to see a lion frolicking around its enclosure amid festive, colorful Christmas lights, prepare to be disappointed. The majority of the animals are asleep, and most of the unlit enclosures are too dark to see anything. Some of the reptiles, monkeys and birds were awake during my visit, but Zoo Lights showcases such a wide variety of activities and events that the animals are not the main attraction.

Many of the regular zoo activities are still open during Zoo Lights: the carousel, train and restaurants continue to run. The zoo also offers additional services such as visits with Santa, camel rides and photos taken in a snow globe.

In addition to walking around, viewing the Christmas decorations and watching the light show (which synchronizes to Christmas music), you can also roast s’mores over the zoo’s campfires, visit Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen or ice skate amidst twinkling blue lights and life-size snowmen. Finish your visit by riding on the Holiday Express, the zoo’s decorated train.


Zoo Lights is open from 6-10 p.m. every night. For more information and ticket prices, visit