Wild Lights

General Admission

Front Gate:


Ticket includes:

Admission to Wild Lights

buy tickets

(Online prices vary subject to date and time)

Polar Package



Front Gate:


Ticket includes:

Admission to Wild Lights
Polar Express 4-D Experience

buy tickets

(Online prices vary subject to date and time)

On Select Dates November 16, 2019 to January 5, 2020 Prices will vary subject to date and time

  • Wild Lights Admission

    ONLINE: $11-$18

    FRONT GATE: $19

    TICKETS INCLUDE: Admission to Wild Lights

    Buy Tickets

    (Online prices vary subject to date and time)

  • Rudolph Package

    ONLINE: $16-$23

    FRONT GATE: $24

    TICKETS INCLUDE: Admission to Wild Lights and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer 4D Experience

    Buy Tickets

    (Online prices vary subject to date and time)

  • Winter Rink Package

    ONLINE: $18-$25

    FRONT GATE: $26

    TICKETS INCLUDE: Admission to Wild Lights and one skating session on the Winter Rink

    Buy Tickets

    (Online prices vary subject to date and time)

  • Polar Patio Package

    ONLINE: $29-$36

    FRONT GATE: $37

    TICKETS INCLUDE: Admission to Wild Lights and the Polar Patio to enjoy unlimited food and a cash bar

    Buy Tickets

    (Online prices vary subject to date and time)

The Detroit Zoo will light up the night again this holiday season with Wild Lights, a spectacular light display.  For 29 nights, more than five million LED lights will illuminate trees, buildings and 280 sculptures – more than 230 of which are animals – throughout the front half of the Zoo.  Experience the magic of the Detroit Zoo in winter as you take in the lights and the sights and enjoy holiday entertainment and special activities for guests of all ages. Children younger than 2 are admitted free.

wild lights banner

To create the best possible experience for our guests, we have adjusted the pricing for Wild Lights tickets based on hour and day. This will ease congestion during historically high traffic times and encourage ticket sales at times when attendance has been lighter. Tickets sold in advance (either online or on site at Customer Care during daytime Detroit Zoo hours) will range from $11 to $18 throughout the 29-night run of the event. Walk-up tickets sold at the gate for all nights and time slots will be $19. We recommend guests always check the online web store for the best price available as the gates will always have the highest price. Parking is $8 per car.

The Rudolph Package

wild lights rudolph

The Rudolph Package, includes one timed admission for Wild Lights and one untimed ticket to the 4-D Theater to see “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.”  The Winter Rink and Carousel rides will also be available for purchase. The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition in the Ford Education Center, showcasing some of the world’s most spectacular photography, is included with admission.

Please note, the Polk Penguin Conservation Center will not be open for this event.

wild lights whale


  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


    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. on select weeknights and Sundays.
    • 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays

    How long does it take?

    The loop takes an average of an hour and a half to complete, including the 15-minute version of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” at the Wild Adventure Zone in the Ford Education Center. Guests also enjoying the Carousel, crafts and more will have slightly longer visit times. Guests are welcome to walk the trail as many times as they would like.


    Children younger than 2 are admitted free.

    Advance tickets are recommended. Please arrive at your scheduled time according to your ticket. Wild Lights is a wildly popular event; guests should expect traffic and lines and plan arrival times accordingly.

    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.


    Cost will vary subject to date and time; parking is $8 per car.

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

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

    How do I know I’m getting the best price for my tickets?

    Demand for tickets typically increases as the visit day approaches. Customers who buy their tickets early will have access to the lowest rates.

    How often do dynamic ticket prices change?

    Dynamic prices are subject to change daily. Timing for price adjustments is not predetermined and will depend entirely on how many tickets have been purchased in each time slot and date.

    How do I know what the prices are?

    The best price available for any given day and timeslot will be posted on the website as you follow the prompts to purchase tickets.

    What happens if prices lower after I buy my tickets?

    Prices will only increase leading up to the chosen date. There may be times when prices remain the same; however, they will not decrease. As with all of our tickets, all sales are final.

    What happens if I can’t make the day or time for which I purchased tickets?

    While all sales are final, you can choose to pay a “change fee” per ticket at the gate on another night of the event.  Change fees vary.


    $8 per car for Members and non-members.


    The Arctic Café, Buddy’s Pizza, American Coney Island and The Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company will be open during Wild Lights. Additional food and drink options will be available along the trail, including a limited number of alcoholic beverages.


    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 and buildings will be closed for the evening.


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

    Can I purchase tickets for “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” separately?

    Yes; tickets can be purchased in the Wild Adventure Zone for $5/person (only during Wild Lights).

    The Rudolph Package

    The Rudolph Package includes one timed and dated ticket to Wild Lights and one untimed ticket to Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Please arrive at Wild Lights according to your ticket time, enjoy the show, participate in any activities you choose and then view Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer when you arrive at the Wild Adventure Zone in the Ford Education Center. Shows run continuously and are about 15 minutes in duration.

    Can I purchase tickets for the Winter Rink separately?

    Yes; tickets can be purchased in the Events Pavilion for $3 per person (without skate rental) or $7 per person (including skate rental).

    How long is a skating session at the Winter Rink?

    Each session is about 25 minutes.

    Is the Winter Rink an ice skating rink?

    The Winter Rink is not made of ice, but of a synthetic plastic known as Glice – a material composed of heat-pressed layers of polymers – so no water or electricity is required for operation. Choosing environmentally friendly options is part of our Green Journey.

    Is the Polk Penguin Conservation Center temporarily closing for repairs?

    Yes, from September 8, 2019, to June 2020. View our press release for more information.

    How far away is the OCC Garage?

    The OCC Garage is only 1.1 miles from the main entrance of the Zoo which is less than 5 minutes away,

    Can I take my stroller or wagon on the bus?

    As long as the stroller can collapse and the wagon can fit through the door of the bus, you are welcome to bring them.

    How many busses are operating on the nights the garage is open?

    The number of busses operating each night will change based on volume; we do not expect long waits to catch the bus.

    What if I am late for my ticketed time due to traffic or the bus?

    Wild Lights guests are always welcome to enter any time after their ticketed time, just not prior to the ticketed time.

    Where do I load the bus to return?

    Signs will be posted and all busses will load at the same location.

    Where is the Polar Patio?

    It is located in the area just west of the Carousel and east of the Arctic Café on a paved patio area.

    Is the Polar Patio indoors or outdoors?

    The Polar Patio is an outdoor experience and there will be ten propane heaters in the immediate area to add some warmth.

    How long are food and beverages served on the Polar Patio?

    The food and beverages will be available each night until 9 p.m. and it is an all you can eat opportunity until that time.

    What is on the menu for the Polar Patio?

    Jumbo all beef Dearborn hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, broccoli cheddar soup, chili, chips, soft pretzels, and hot chocolate will be served until 9 p.m. each evening. There will also be a cash bar. The hot chocolate is unlimited in the VIP area but there will be a charge on the trail.

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