Any one of the 144,000 annual visitors could tell you why going to the Detroit Zoo during the holidays is simply a must! Every year, spectators flock to the Detroit Zoo for its annual Wild Lights show. It’s a southeastern Michigan staple during the holiday season. People come from near and far to see the spectacle and make some holiday memories. The zoo illuminates for 29 nights and truly, it’s a sight to behold. There are lots of reasons to go to Wild Lights, but here are 5 reasons why we think you should go.
Lights, Lights, Lights
It takes over 5 Million LED lights to illuminate the zoo. They come in every color of the rainbow and stretch as far as your eye can see. Again, over 5 million lights! That’s more lights than the entirety of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas! It takes about an hour and a half to walk through the entire path without stopping. The sheer amount of lights makes sense once you realize how big the Zoo actually is. So enjoy the colorful, twinkling lights as you meander along!
Instead of just stringing lights in the trees and on the pathways, the Detroit Zoo lights up over 280 sculptures. From lions to elephants to giant snowflakes, the Zoo really wanted to highlight the diversity of the animal kingdom as well as showing off their limitless holiday spirit. You can also take pictures and pose with many of the sculptures, so it’s perfect for those holiday Instagram shots!
Cocoa and Coney Islands
The best feeling in the world is strolling along a snowy, twinkling path but even better than that is doing it with hot cocoa in hand. During the hour and a half long trek, several concessions are open all to grab some grub and warm their hands. So, roast a s’more. Grab a coney dog or a slice of pizza. Definitely hit the Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company for that cup of hot cocoa and speaking from experience, it’s delicious.
Otters, Reptiles, and Beavers, Oh My!
While most of the zoo’s residents are sleeping away the chilly night, several animal exhibits are open for people to pop in and warm up while looking at the animals. Explore the Holden Reptile Conservation Center or watch the otters play at Edward Mardigian Sr. River Otter Habitat. The Jane and Frank Warchol Beaver Habitat is also open to the public, so go watch those beavers build a dam!
The Wonder of It All
The absolute best reason to go see the Detroit Zoo’s Wild Lights is the sense of wonder the spectacle brings. Just taking a quick look around, you will see people smiling and laughing with those beautiful lights reflecting back in their eyes. Combine that with Michigan’s sparkling snow and the night stars, it’s pretty hard to not be taken by the beauty of the Wild Lights. The atmosphere is hands-down unbeatable. No matter what you celebrate, it’s an event that brings joy and creates incredible memories for everyone who enters the gates.
So grab some friends or your family and head to Royal Oak starting November 16th. The event will run from November 16th, 2019 to January 5th, 2020. Tickets are available online or at the park and pricing varies due to visitor influx. Special Packages are available like the Rudolph package which includes admission and the 4-D Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Experience. Other packages include the Winter Rink package and the Polar Patio package. So, head to the Detroit Zoo this holiday season and feel the wonder in the air!
And if Wild Lights doesn’t satisfy your colorful light quota, on November 25th, the entire main street of Downtown Rochester is lit up and you can experience the magic that is Laginappe right after the lights go on.