Zoo Lights at the Houston Zoo

Address:  6200 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, Texas 77030

Hours: November 23, 2012 to January 5, 2013, 6:00pm – 10:00pm (last admission at 9:00 pm)

Cost: $10/person over 2, $8/member over 2 (Get $1 off your ticket when you purchase online)

Appropriate Age: All ages


Our Review:  The Houston Zoo wants everyone to start a new holiday tradition.  To visit the Zoo at night, between Thanksgiving and New Years, to see the Christmas lights, carolers and choirs.  While you are there, you can also see the tigers, lions, rhinos, reptiles and aquarium.  For an extra charge, visitors can ride the lit up carousel or watch the Polar Express 4D Experience.

Interested in starting a new holiday tradition that included our favorite zoo and thousands of Christmas lights, we decided to visit on Saturday night.  Zoo Lights is open nightly from 6:00-10:00pm and we arrived at 7:00pm, with the rest of Houston.  The Zoo lot was full so we made our way to the Garden Club lot and found a spot.  (At 7:00pm, this lot had lots of spots.  By 9:00pm, it was completely full.)

We walked through Miller Outdoor Theatre and Hermann Park and felt safe because there were tons of people out at Zoo Lights.  At the zoo, the ticket counter had a long line (so consider buying tickets online) and members were able to visit the members-only window.

Members and non-members must pay for this event, and it is not cheap.  Every person over 2 years old is $10 (or $8 for members).  Since we are members, this had me a little bent out of shape, because we already pay a lot of money for our membership AND we had a lot of people over 2 in our party.  That said, I paid my money and figured that I should have gone to the special $5 member’s preview.

Inside the zoo there were tons of people and there was an exciting buzz.  We’ve been to the zoo many times, but with the darkness and Christmas lights, the zoo looked brand new.

Sections of the zoo were closed off and the walking tour was a big loop around the water fountain area, to the lions, through the African forest, through the birds and back to the entrance.  There was no time limit, so you can stay as long as you want.  But, since it was dark it was best that the zoo forced us to stay on track.

There were lots of people, lots or lights and lots to see.  We never felt crowded and were never underwhelmed.  Brooke says she liked the lit up elephants and the real giraffes that we saw getting ready for bed.  Joe liked the lit up lions.  All in all, it was a very fun outing.

We do plan to make this a holiday tradition.  It it was cheaper, we would probably visit many time each year.  As it is, we’ll be sure to visit after Thanksgiving each year.

Next time we’ll be sure to pack an extra jacket, a fun snack (because the zoo food smelled pretty good and expensive) and some glow sticks so I can better track my kids.

Are you going to check out Zoo Lights this year?


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