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The Bronx Zoo

Photo courtesy of the Bronx Zoo

The opening of Holiday Lights at the Bronx Zoo marks the unofficial start to the New York City holiday season. The family-favorite tradition opens to the public on Friday, November 18 and will run on select dates through Jan. 8.

 Holiday Lights is a fully outdoor experience. The six lantern trails have been reimagined and more than 70 new lanterns/30 new species have been added for 2022. In all, there are more than 360 wildlife-themed lanterns representing 90 species spread across an expansive area of the zoo. There are six lantern trails that depict scenes from geographic regions and ecosystems: North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia, oceans, and the Forest of Color which features larger-than-life representations of some of the lesser known but impressively colorful animals and plants vital to the Earth’s ecosystems.

“Holiday Lights returned to the Bronx Zoo in 2019 and each year we have grown the event significantly” said Jim Breheny, Bronx Zoo Director. “Each year we add more animal lanterns and new experiences. Holiday Lights is now bigger than ever and gives everyone an exciting new way to learn about wildlife while experiencing the spirit of the season.”

The event includes massive light shows, synchronized to seasonal music, on historic Astor Court. Additional trees and features have been added making this the zoo’s biggest light show experience ever. Glowing animal-themed stilt walkers, train rides, Wildlife Theater shows, ice carving demonstrations, and seasonal treats including s’mores and hot chocolate make for a complete Holiday outing for the whole family.

In addition to the dozens of new animal lanterns, expanded light shows, and activities, the zoo has added several special nights to the line-up. December 2-4 will be a Pajama Party Weekend; December 26-30 will feature professional holiday carolers; New Year’s Eve will include a family-friendly new year countdown; and Schiff Hall will be transformed into a one-of-a-kind Illuminated Playground January 6-8.

December 29 will be a special sensory-inclusive night designed for guests who thrive in a sensory-supportive environment. During this special evening, guests can expect the same great Holiday Lights experience with some modifications to make it more sensory friendly.

Holiday Lights will operate on select dates from November 18 to January 8. Tickets for Holiday Lights must be purchased in advance and are date specific. Tickets are now available online. Visit the Know before You Go page for all details.WCS members receive a 40-percent discount. Members at the Conservation Supporter level will receive free admission to Holiday Lights.

The Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo’s First-Ever After Dark Haunted Experience

New for 2022, the Bronx Zoo is adding an after-hours event – Dinosaurs in Darkness: The Hatching. This is the zoo’s first-ever Halloween nighttime event for older audiences. Dinosaurs in Darkness transforms the fan favorite Dinosaur Safari into a thrilling nighttime experience each Friday and Saturday night from October 7-29 (including Monday Oct. 10). The Hatching is a scary Halloween walk-through experience that sends participants on an adventure that brings them up close with prehistoric creatures in a whole new way as they follow the story of a rare dinosaur egg, found intact after 66 million years, that is finally ready to hatch! What could possibly go wrong? This  is an after-hours event and is ticketed separately from Bronx Zoo admission. It is recommended for ages 13 and up. More information and tickets are available at https://bronxzoo.com/dinos-in-darkness.

See a video here: Dinosaurs in Darkness: The Hatching

The tradition of Boo at the Zoo will operate at the Bronx Zoo during normal open hours each Saturday and Sunday from October 1 to 30 (including the holiday, Monday October 10). Outdoor activities will include the popular professional pumpkin carving demonstrations and displays; magic and mind reading shows; trick or treating on the Candy Trail; and the spooky extinct animal graveyard. Animal-themed costumed stilt walkers and Halloween animal puppets will headline the costume parade, and everyone can meet live vultures, owls, ravens and other birds each day on the zoo’s historic Astor Court. Finally, October and Boo at the Zoo is the last chance to catch the Dinosaur Safari. The experience will go extinct on October 30.

See a video here: Boo at the Zoo

For more information, tickets and a full schedule of activities, visit the website at BronxZoo.com/Boo-at-the-Zoo.

About the Bronx Zoo: The Bronx Zoo, located on 265 acres of hardwood forest in Bronx, NY, opened on Nov. 8, 1899. It is world-renowned for its leadership in the areas of animal welfare, husbandry, veterinarian care, education, science and conservation. The zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is the flagship park of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) which manages the world’s largest network of urban wildlife parks including the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and New York Aquarium. Our curators and animal care staff work to save, propagate, and sustain populations of threatened and endangered species. We have educated and inspired more than 400 million visitors at our zoos and aquarium since our opening and host approximately 4 million guests at our parks each year – including about a half-million students annually. The Bronx Zoo is the largest youth employer in the borough of the Bronx, providing opportunity and helping to transform lives in one of the most under-served communities in the nation. The Bronx Zoo is the subject of THE ZOO, a docu-series aired world-wide on Animal Planet. Members of the media should contact [email protected] for more information or with questions.