One of the most popular things to do in DC around the December holidays is Zoolights at the Smithsonian Zoo.
Zoolights is back for 2022 running Friday, November 25, 2022 to Friday, December 30, 2022 | 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Tickets are required for entry!
Come and enjoy a truly magical and FREE holiday attraction.
ZooLights Washington DC at the Smithsonian National Zoo welcomes visitors with illuminated trees and animal silhouettes as well as musical light shows and much more.
For more holiday events and attractions, visit our post on visiting Washington DC for Christmas and the Holidays.
Top Things To Do at Zoolights
You'll find your Zoo-magination with their train display that chugs its way through a land of Legos.
On Lion/Tiger Hill, there is a 150' snow tubing slide to complete your visit to a winter wonderland.
The tube tracks are ready to whisk you down with or without a seasonal snowstorm but expect a line and a $3 fee to ride.
Just make sure someone is ready to hold your hot chocolate for you.
Visiting at night means you get to experience a different side of the zoo: nocturnal animals!
The Small Mammal House, Great Ape House, Reptile Discovery Center, Think Tank, and Kids' Farm will be open every night.
Glow Zone | Every night: A free, glow-in-the-dark play zone for children features light-up LED games and activities located in the Zoo's Great Meadow.
Want to ride a tortoise?
The Speedwell Foundation Conservation Carousel is powered by solar energy ready to take you and your family on a whirlwind tour of the Zoo's conservation and endangered species success stories.
You are no longer allowed to ride the live tortoises (you used to be able to!) but each seat on the Carousel is one of 58 animals you can ride. This is $3 a ride.
Hours & Admission
WEEK 1 | Nov. 25, 26, 27 | Friday to Sunday
WEEK 2 | Dec. 2, 3, 4 | Friday to Sunday
WEEK 3 | Dec. 9, 10, 11 | Friday to Sunday
WEEK 4 & 5 | Dec. 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 | Friday to Friday
WEEK 6 | Dec. 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 | Monday to Friday
5:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Admission to ZooLights is free, but a special entry pass separate from a daily Zoo pass will be required. You can get tickets to Zoolights here. Passes open for reservation on a rolling basis, 4 weeks in advance
There is a flat-rate parking fee of $30. Daytime parking tickets are not valid for ZooLights parking.