Sparkling, festive, and magical! For many Calgarians, the holiday season is simply not complete without a visit to ZOOLIGHTS, presented by Olympia Trust Company. Calgary’s award-winning holiday tradition will be glowing for seven weeks of festive, family-friendly fun, lighting up the nights between November 18, 2022 – January 8, 2023.
The Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo is celebrating 26 years since it first started transforming into an enchanting winter wonderland. This year’s ZOOLIGHTS experience will be bigger, brighter, and more magical than ever, with millions of twinkling lights at every turn, including over 200 light figurines, along with interactive and choreographed light displays. With five new installations for 2022, you’ll discover a holiday extravaganza, all while you support wildlife conservation.
New themed areas and activities will bring you even more ZOOLIGHTS fun in 2022.
You can Return to the Wild in Prehistoric Park and celebrate conservation success through art, storytelling, and illumination. Follow the journey of a whooping crane chick from a small, speckled egg until it spreads its wings and takes flight, released into the wild to safeguard the future of the species.
Head to Destination Africa and be immersed in stories from the tangled mountain forest complex around Mt. Kenya. Bee-ting the Drum for Bongo shares the link between a critically endangered antelope species and the buzzing of honeybees through an interactive drumming experience. Lights will showcase the biodiversity of Kenya and celebrate community-led conservation initiatives.
The Garden of Light in the Dorothy Harvie Gardens gives you a magical garden experience during the winter as the Dorothy Harvie Gardens will be illuminated with colourful lights and flower figures.
It’s All about Family in the Gorilla Amphitheatre while you get to know one of the families at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo – the gorilla troop! Meet each family member and learn about their relationships through dynamic spoken word poetry and an innovative light show experience.
There’s a Polar Wonderland in Exploration Asia! You can take a stroll through a new themed section that pays homage to the animals of the North and South poles. This experience is a celebration of winter with shades of blues and snowflakes throughout.
Of course, you can still enjoy all the classic activities everyone has come to love at ZOOLIGHTS. Take a spin around the skating rink, walk down the Tunnel of Love, test your arm with Rival Ax Throwing, and warm up by the firepits. Be sure to stop by Santa’s cabin to visit with the big man himself, too, until December 23, 2022.
Visiting ZOOLIGHTS can be a lot for the senses. But you can access a sensory sensitive experience, where everyone will be able to enjoy the magic of ZOOLIGHTS in a way that works best for them. Sensory-sensitive guests can access a Sensory Bag (free rental) with supplies to help improve their ZOOLIGHTS experience. These bags include headphones, a fidget spinner, and more. The zoo has added more park signage ahead of flashing or moving lights and sounds so that sensory-sensitive guests are not caught off guard.
Special Nights and Events
There are a number of special event nights at ZOOLIGHTS, which are separately ticketed. New for 2022 is the Snow Globe Experience. You can rent a “Snow Globe” and savour an exclusive dining moment under the glow of the zoo’s twinkling lights. Each of the three heated, transparent globes is outfitted with a cozy interior and a Visitor Experience attendant and is suitable for an intimate date night for two up to a group dinner for six. The Beary Merry Holiday Party on December 15 – 16, 2022, is family-friendly. On December 31, 2022, celebrate the last night of the year with the best and brightest backdrop in the city – ZOOLIGHTS! Zoo Year’s Eve includes all the fun of ZOOLIGHTS with extra special entertainment, including numerous countdowns – so your little ones don’t have to stay up too late to partake in the fun! It’s a festive way to help you and your loved ones ring in the new year in a safe (and “zoonique”!) way while supporting the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo’s wildlife conservation initiatives.
ZOOLIGHTS comes to life nightly from 5 to 9 pm. It takes approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours to experience all that ZOOLIGHTS has to offer – but you are able to stay for as little or as long as you like. Tickets are $21.95 for adults and $14.95 for kids 3 – 15 (infants 2 and under get in free). Tickets are available at the gate, but you can save time and money by purchasing in advance online! Parking is $12, and the entrance is only through the North Gate.
All the best of winter is at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo this holiday: sparkling lights, a visit with Santa, playing in the snow, and hot chocolate by the fire! Whether you are creating a new holiday tradition or continuing a favourite one, your whole family will love the festive spectacle of ZOOLIGHTS, presented by Olympia Trust Company, at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo. Everything that’s magical about Christmas has come together in one place!
When: November 18, 2022 – January 8, 2023 (Some exclusions apply, with private or separately ticketed events.)
Time: 5 – 9 pm (no admission after 8:30 pm)
Where: Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo
Address: 210 St. George’s Drive NE, Calgary, AB