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WATCH AGAIN: Toledo Zoo Lights Before Christmas special

With over 1 million lights, the award-winning Big Tree and 200+ illuminated animal images spread out across the zoo, the 2021 edition starts Nov. 19.

TOLEDO, Ohio — With over 1 million lights, the award-winning Big Tree and more than 200 illuminated animal images spread out across the Toledo Zoo, the 2020 edition of the electrical spectacle known as Lights Before Christmas is sure to be both merry AND bright!

Visitors are required to reserve tickets online for guaranteed admission. All guests must park and enter through the Anthony Wayne Trail. Broadway parking and entrance will remain closed. 

Hand sanitizer stations are placed throughout the zoo. 

You can reserve tickets here: https://connect.toledozoo.org/lbc 

Dates are released on a one-week rolling basis. If the date you are interested is not listed, check back one week in advance.

Ticket prices are free for zoo members (reservations required) and for non-members tickets are $23 for adults and $20 for kids 2-11 and for seniors 60 and older.

If you're already a zoo member, you can bring friends and family with you to the Zoo by adding a Plus One or Plus Two to your Dual, One Adult Family, Senior Grandparent, or Family Membership. Visit https://connect.toledozoo.org/membership/upgrades for more information 


NOV. 19-DEC. 31, 2021

Open daily, 3-8 p.m.

Gates close at 8 p.m., park closes at 9 p.m.

During Lights Before Christmas, the zoo will be open at 3 p.m. daily.

Tree Lighting Ceremony

Friday, Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. in the Gardens 

Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Open for Lights from 3-8 p.m., park will close at 9 p.m.

New Year’s Eve

Open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Lights on at 3 p.m., park closing at 9 p.m.


In addition to those famous, award-winning lights, the zoo is also featuring several events along with the traditions you've come to know and love.


• Sign up for the Nov. 18 Brewdolph Bash to attend an exclusive preview night of the Lights Before Christmas. Adults 21 and older are invited to a fun-filled evening stroll through the zoo from 6-10 p.m. Your ticket purchase gets you a signature hot chocolate, (spiked or non-spiked) plus an additional drink, a souvenir cup, live music and strolling holiday characters. Holiday beer, a full bar and food will be available for purchase. Tickets in advance are $45 per person for members and $50 for non-members, and day-of ticket sales are $50 per person. Tap here to buy Brewdolph Bash tickets. 


• Santa Encounters are back, and your littles can see the Big Man zipline through the Africa! exhibit daily at 3:30 p.m. Santa will ve available for visits from 4-8 p.m. daily at the North Star gift shop from Nov. 19-Dec. 23.


• Rides and activities will be in full swing including:

  • Ice Slide where you can fly down on personal or inner tubes built for two! ($3)
  • Indoor African Animal Carousel ($2)
  • Holly Jolly Express holiday train rides ($2.50, open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting.)
  • Ice Carving Demo (free with admission, Thursdays in December at 6 p.m. in Main Plaza)
  • Swanton Model Train Railroad Club (free with admission, daily in the cafe at 5 p.m.; closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)

You can also purchase “bundles” that can be used toward any ride or activity:

  • 4-Pass Bundle: $10 (valid through Dec. 31)
  • 7-Pass Bundle : $15 (valid through Dec. 31)
  • Wild Pass (unlimited rides): $25 (valid on date of purchase)


• Register for the Polar Paws and Santa Claws 5K on Dec. 12. The 5K race starts at 4 p.m., right after the running of the Kids Cub Run at 3 p.m. The 5K registration gets you a pair of touch-screen friendly gloves, an insulated cup and holiday-themed post-race refreshments in addition to admission to the Lights Before Christmas. Collectible medals will also be provided for the first 600 registrants. Registration is $35 per participant through Nov. 14 and $45 per participant from Nov. 15 through race day.

The Cub Run is for kids up to age 12, broken down into three age groups and is completely within zoo grounds. Registration includes admission to the Lights Before Christmas and an ice slide pass. Registration is $15 per participant. 

A virtual race option is also available. Tap here to register for all races.