Sparkling, festive, and magical! Embrace cool nights and warm lights with ZOOLIGHTS, presented by Olympia Trust Company, at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo. This festive, award-winning holiday tradition will light up your nights this holiday season from November 17, 2023 – January 7, 2024. Discover a holiday extravaganza and complete your holiday celebrations with an enchanting, family-friendly evening.

The Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo is celebrating nearly 30 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 over one million lights and close to 250 light figures, along with interactive and choreographed light displays. With new installations for 2023, including an exciting new Arctic aurora theme, your family will enjoy a night to remember, all while you support wildlife conservation.

What to Expect in 2023

Amazing themed areas and activities will bring you even more ZOOLIGHTS fun in 2023!

You can find Polar Nights in Prehistoric Park and journey through seasons in the life of a polar bear cub and its mother under the Northern Lights.

Celebrate ice and snow in the ENMAX Conservatory. Surround yourself with arctic creatures, snow-covered trees, gorgeous chandeliers, and of course, polar bears, as you roam an arctic twilight. Take family photographs in the sparkly sleigh and notice the arctic animals in the trees.

The Dorothy Harvie Gardens will give you a magical garden experience in the midst of winter as the Dorothy Harvie Gardens will be illuminated with colourful lights and flower figures. (You’ll also find the rentable Snow Globes here.)

The Boreal Forest Trek through Exploration Asia will let you experience the magic of a Canadian forest in winter, celebrating our iconic animals with green sparkle to guide your way.

ZOOLIGHTS (Family Fun Calgary)

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 axe throwing, and warm up by the firepits. Be sure to stop by Santa’s cabin to visit with the big man himself, until December 23, 2023.

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. The Snow Globe Experience is back in 2023, where you can rent a “Snow Globe” and savour an exclusive dining moment under the glow of the zoo’s twinkling lights. The Beary Merry Holiday Party, designed for small groups, offers adults a party night of their own. Or add a ZOOLIGHTS and Feast combo on weekend evenings from December 1, 2023, to January 7, 2024.

On December 31, 2023, 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 stay for 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) and are available at the gate, but you can save time and money by purchasing in advance online! Parking is $13, and the entrance is only through the North Gate. New for 2023, to celebrate the opening of Wild Canada this December, you can purchase a Sunlight to ZOOLIGHTS combo pass from December 1, 2023, to January 7, 2024, so you can visit the polar bears and enjoy the magic of ZOOLIGHTS.

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 17, 2023 – January 7, 2024 (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