Wild Lights

November 20 - December 31 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.$9 in advance • $11 at the gate

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See the Zoo In A Whole New Light

24 nights beginning November 20, 2015

Experience the magic of the Detroit Zoo in winter as you take in the lights and the sights and enjoy holiday entertainment and activities for guests of all ages. More than five million LED lights will illuminate trees, buildings and more than 100 animal sculptures throughout the front of the Zoo.

Wild Lights will be held between 5:30 and 9 p.m.

  • November 20-22, 27-29
  • December 4-6, 11-13, 18-23, 26-31


Live entertainment, arts and crafts, ice carving and the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit will add to the festivities. Seasonal refreshments, Wild Lights souvenirs and photos with Santa (until December 23) will be available for purchase.

NOTE – Wild Lights may sell out; advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended. Please be advised that lines at the admission gates may be very long when the event opens at 5:30 p.m. We encourage advance ticket holders to consider arriving at least 30 minutes later for shorter wait times. If the event is sold out, walk-up tickets will be sold between 7 and 8:30 p.m. (the event ends at 9 p.m.).

Visit the Wild Adventure Zone during Wild Lights

Go on an extraordinary adventure in the Wild Adventure Zone with “The Polar Express 4-D Experience” at the 4-D Theater. The 14-minute film featuring Tom Hanks tells the tale of a doubting young boy who takes a train ride to the North Pole and discovers that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.

NEW THIS YEAR! Take the Plunge at Wild Lights

Soar down the Polar Plunge, a 22-foot-tall, 150-foot-long slide. Purchase single rides for $3, an all-you-can-ride pass for $12 (same night only), or include it in your Polar Package (see FAQ below). Children ages 2 and older may ride with their responsible adult; children more than 36 inches tall may ride solo. Two adults may not ride together. Don’t miss the Polar Plunge – available only during Wild Lights!

  • FAQ


    The Zoo closes at 4 p.m. and reopens for Wild Lights at 5:30 p.m. Wild Lights runs from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

    How long does it take?

    The loop takes an average of an hour and a half to complete for guests attending the "Polar Express 4-D Experience" and/or “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” in the Simulator Ride at the Wild Adventure Zone in the Ford Education Center. Guests also enjoying the Carousel, Snow Slide, crafts, Photos with Santa and more will have slightly longer visit times. Guests are welcome to walk the trail as many times as they would like.


    Advance tickets are recommended. The time on the ticket reads 5:30 p.m.; however, the tickets can be used at any time between 5:30 and 9 p.m. You may want to plan your arrival after 5:30 p.m. as this is when we see the highest volume of guests and longer wait times at the front gates.

    If you are having difficulty locating your online tickets, please be sure to check your junk/spam folder. If you are unable to print your tickets or have lost them, we can use your smartphone confirmation to look them up in the system.


    Wild Lights is $9 in advance for all guests over 2 years old or $11 at the gate.

 Members and non-members must purchase tickets to Wild Lights.

    Membership allows for free admission and parking during daytime hours, Wild Summer Nights concerts and MemberFest. All other ticketed events are additional.


    $6 per car for Members and non-members.


    The Arctic Cafe is open during Wild Lights. Additional food and drink options are available along the trail. A limited number of alcoholic beverages are available for purchase.


    The pathway allows you to see the Edward Mardigian Sr. River Otter Habitat, the Jane and Frank Warchol Beaver Habitat, and the Holden Reptile Conservation Center. All other animal habitats will be closed for the evening.

    Polar Package

    Wild Lights guests can ZooMORE for less with our new Polar Package! The Polar Package is $11/person for visitors ages 2 and older and includes three experience tickets which can be used at any of our four attractions:

    • 4-D Theater featuring "The Polar Express 4-D Experience"
    • Simulator Ride featuring "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs - The Ride"
    • Polar Plunge snow slide
    • Carousel.


    In addition, Wild Lights guests will receive a pair of special 3-D glasses which turn the LED lights into snowflakes. This package does not include Wild Lights admission or parking and expires on the last evening of Wild Lights. No refunds or exchanges.


    Wild Lights is held rain, snow or shine. Please come dressed for the weather and for walking outside.

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