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Wildlights At The Zoo & El Vaquero Mexican Restaurant

A perfect holiday activity for family and friends! Our Shawnee location is just around the corner form the Zoo (across the River) at 9130 Dublin Road, Columbus, Ohio, 43065.

We'll see you there! Here is more information:

When: Nov. 17 through Jan. 4, Members-Only Preview Night is Sunday, Nov. 16.

Wildlights is closed Nov. 27, Dec. 24 and Dec. 25.

Times: Sunday through Thursday 5 to 9 p.m.

Friday and Saturday 5 to 10 p.m.

Regular Zoo hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, 4850 W Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065

Price: Free for Zoo members. Under 2: Free; Ages 2-9: $9.99;

Ages 10-59: $14.99; Ages 60+: $10.99. Parking is $8 per vehicle.

It’s that time of year again! We’ve decked the halls with millions of LED lights for the 26th annual Wildlights extravaganza, efficiently powered by AEP Ohio, beginning Nov. 17 with a lighting ceremony at 5 p.m.

Central Ohio’s favorite family holiday tradition is back and it’s bigger, brighter and better than ever! There will be more holiday cheer with several new attractions in addition to everyone’s Wildlights favorites.

New this year, guests will be dazzled by two animated light shows as they gather around Conservation Lake for this spectacular display of twinkling lights. Both shows will alternate every 15 minutes starting at 5:45 p.m. until close. Visitors can jam out to the spirited sounds of “Electric Yuletide,” presented by Trans-Siberian Orchestra, or be enchanted as the lights dance to “Holiday Magic,” presented by Disney on Ice Worlds of Fantasy.

Back by popular demand, the magic of Wildlights continues with the return of a holiday skate rink near the Entry Village. This attraction will open later in the Wildlights season, but oh what fun guests will have lacing up their skates and gliding across the Glice rink. Unlike the traditional ice rink, this skate rink is made of synthetic silicon plastic ice technology that provides an ecological substitute for conventional ice. Skate rental is $4 for members and $5 for non-members. Skating is free to guests who bring their own skates.

Thursdays through Sundays, the Zoo’s Character Ambassadors, presented by Donatos, will take to the stage in the light-hearted musical, Characters Got Talent: Holiday Edition. Characters will be available after the show to meet their fans.

Although Heart of Africa has closed for the season, guests can ride a camel in the North America region for $7 per person. These hearty animals of the desert can thrive in a wide range of temperatures and will give guests a bumpy ride.

Tiny tots’ eyes will be aglow when they meet Santa at the Holiday Village, located in Jungle Jack’s Landing, and tell him what they want for Christmas. Then, they can stop at Mrs. Claus’ kitchen to decorate their very own cookie, (additional fees may apply). Guests also can visit his reindeer in North America, and then watch the jolly ol’ elf skip the chimney and show off his diving skills in the 10,000-gallon coral habitat at Discovery Reef.

Other Wildlights favorites returning this year include the Global Celebrations Village, presented by Home City Ice, in Asia Quest. This whimsical display represents all the countries in the United Nations and 16 animated carolers from around the world as they celebrate the magical winter season. Plus, Bob Evans Polar Express train rides and a spin on the 1914 Mangels-Illions Carousel are both holiday traditions that will make spirits bright for $1 per person, per ride.

Zoo goers can stay warm as they walk through the Zoo and visit indoor areas such as Polar Pete’s Holiday Open House at Battelle Ice Bear Outpost, Naomi Coyle Dempsey Quest for Enlightenment Interpretive Center in Asia Quest, the Aquarium, Manatee Coast, the Reptile Building, plus Bob and Evelyn’s Roadhouse to meet some nocturnal creatures from down under.

Please note: Congo Expedition closes at 4 p.m. and the polar bears will not be on view during Wildlights. So come early to see the gorillas, bonobos and polar bears before they settle in for the night. Also, Heart of Africa and the Islands regions are closed for the season.

For more information about Wildlights, please visit our event calendar at

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