Do you love light festivals? Every Christmas, the Bronx Zoo organises a beautiful festival called Holiday Lights Festival where its animals are the absolute stars. You can't miss it!
1. How to buy tickets to see the Bronx Zoo Christmas lights?
To attend the Bronx Zoo's Holiday Lights Festival you will need to purchase tickets online in advance in order to reserve the date and time of your visit, as with the standard Bronx Zoo admission tickets ("Limited Admission Ticket" and "Bronx Zoo Admission Ticket").
In other words, you will need to buy tickets for the Christmas Festival of Lights itself, as you will not be allowed to enter with any other Zoo ticket for this event.
These tickets are not purchased at the box office but on the Bronx Zoo website. If you have already decided to visit the park during Christmas, I recommend you to do it as early as possible because the demand is very high and tickets are usually sold out very quickly.
2. How much do tickets to see the Bronx Zoo Christmas lights cost?
Tickets to the Holiday Lights Festival are priced a little higher than regular tickets to the Bronx Zoo**(from $35** for adults), as this is a special once-a-year Christmas event.
We compare prices for all Bronx Zoo tickets
- Limited Admission Ticket
- Ticket Prices
- Adult (over 13 years old): from $24
- Senior (over 65 years): from $22
- Children (3 to 12 years old): from $16
- Infants (under 2 years): Free of charge
- Bronx Zoo Admission Ticket
- Admission Prices
- Adult (age 13+): from $30
- Senior (age 65+): from $28
- Children (3 to 12 years): from $22
- Infants (under 2 years old): Free
- Holiday Lights Festival
- Adult (over 13 years old): from $35
- Senior (over 65): from $30
- Children (ages 3-12): from $20
- Infants (under 2 years old): Free
Can I stay to see the Christmas lights if I go during the day at the Zoo?
No, this is not possible. Visitors who have entered the Bronx Zoo during the day with a regular ticket will have to leave at 4:30 PM, the park's usual closing time during the cold months.
During the Holiday Lights Festival period (November 19 - January 9), all visitors entering the zoo after 3 PM must have a ticket specifically for this event in order to remain in the zoo for the Holiday Lights Festival.
However, during the Christmas season you can buy regular tickets to visit the zoo even if you don't attend the light show.
3. How can I save money to see the Christmas lights? Are there reduced rates?
Although the Bronx Zoo has Holiday Lights Festival promo codes for military and students in New York, the majority of visitors to the zoo are not eligible to use them, but don't worry! That's not to say that there aren't other options for families to save a little when purchasing tickets to see the holiday lights.
Thanks to the Holiday Lights Festival's discounted group rates, children ages 3-12 (from $20) and adults 65 and older (from $30) can get into the Bronx Zoo for less per ticket than adults.
In this way, families will be able to slightly reduce their spending on this activity and use the money saved to do other things in the Big Apple during the Christmas season, such as going to see an NBA game, a Broadway musical or Madame Tussauds Museum.
4. Can I see the Christmas lights at the Bronx Zoo for free?
While Limited Admission to the Bronx Zoo is free all day on Wednesdays, the same is not true for the Holiday Lights Festival.
For the duration of the event, the last entrance to the zoo during the day is at 12 PM and from 3 PM onwards, all visitors must purchase a Holiday Lights Festival ticket to gain access to the grounds.
5. When can I go to see the Christmas lights at the Bronx Zoo? What are the opening hours of the festival?
The Bronx Zoo's Holiday Lights Festival is open nightly from November 19 to January 9 from 4:30 PM to 10 PM. The park is only closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.
What days can you see the Christmas lights?
- Friday to Sunday
- Thursday to Sunday
- 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17,18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31
- Friday to Sunday
- 2, 7, 8, 9
6. How much time do you need to visit the Bronx Zoo Christmas Lights?
About 2-3 hours. Holiday Lights Festival is an event to enjoy the Christmas lights and lanterns in the shape of animals and plants that decorate the zoo at night, but it's not the only thing to see there. There are also many other winter-themed and animal-themed shows that will leave you open-mouthed - you'll love them so much you won't want to leave the zoo!
7. What will you see at the Bronx Zoo Christmas light show?
Attending the Holiday Lights Festival is a fun and original way to celebrate Christmas. It's a family-friendly outdoor event filled with lights, music and colour to brighten up the winter evenings with nature as a backdrop - you'll be amazed at what they've prepared!
What exhibits and activities are part of the festival?
During the Holiday Lights Festival you will be able to see more than 260 super cool lanterns and lamps representing dozens of species of animals and plants that you can see during the day at the zoo (gorillas, lions, zebras, tigers, monkeys, anacondas, bears, turtles...) but in a much more resplendent and colourful version.
Another beautiful exhibition that you will be able to see at the zoo during the event is the Forest of Colour, a space made up of twenty new lanterns that join the traditional ones to represent some of the smallest animals on our planet, which despite their tiny size have beautiful colours that make them shine brightly.
The aim of this "Forest of Colour" is to represent the beauty and diversity of nature through the light of these lanterns and to remind us of the importance of caring for nature.
But during your visit to the Holiday Lights Festival, in addition to the lights, you will be able to see many other things that will complete this fantastic experience.
For example, there's puppet theatre for the little ones (at Dancing Crane Pavilion), ice carving competitions and demonstrations where you can see the incredible talent of many artists (at Grizzly Corner), stilt walkers (at Astor Court), animal costumes (at Somba Village) and even a Christmas train you can ride around the park (at Astor Court) for just $3 more.
What other light festivals to see in New York in winter?
If you like festivals of lights, Christmas is a fabulous time to see them. If you have time in your schedule, after seeing the Holiday Lights Festival I recommend discovering the New York Winter Lantern Festival and the LuminoCity Festival. You'll have a great time and take some beautiful photos!
8. Tips for seeing the Christmas lights at the Bronx Zoo
Remember to book your tickets online in advance for the Bronx Zoo's Holiday Lights Festival. All visitors must have a ticket with a specific date and time for the visit.
For safety reasons, do not touch the lights, lamps or displays. Stay within the marked paths that are part of the festival and do not enter the exhibit areas or planters.
During the Holiday Lights Festival, not all of the zoo is open, but only part of the zoo where the event takes place. Therefore, some areas of the park and the Bronx Zoo's animal exhibit areas will be closed after 4 PM. In this regard, please follow all the signs that make up the festival itinerary.
Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. The Holiday Lights Festival occupies a large space inside the Bronx Zoo so you will be doing a lot of walking. Since the event takes place during the winter, don't forget to dress warmly as temperatures drop significantly in the evenings.
At the end of your visit, stop by the gift shop before you leave the zoo as they have plenty of festival-themed souvenirs - a great souvenir of the experience!
9. Where to eat near the Bronx Zoo at Christmas?
You won't have to go far from the Bronx Zoo if you get the itch in the middle of the Holiday Lights Festival because there are plenty of dining options inside the zoo itself.
For example, the Dancing Crane Café restaurant will be open throughout the event, but weather permitting, there will also be food stalls and food carts such as Zoo Bites and Zoo Brews scattered throughout the park where you can pick up some snacks and drinks to refuel for the rest of the tour.
10. What to see near the Bronx Zoo at Christmas?
After taking in the Christmas lights at the Bronx Zoo, you may want to take the opportunity to stroll around the area and check out other nearby attractions that are also hosting Christmas-themed events.
One of them is the New York Botanical Garden, which at this time of year hosts a wonderful toy train show surrounded by the nature of the botanical garden in the Enid A. Haupt Greenhouse, which has become a Christmas tradition since it was first put on in the 1990s.
It is an endearing experience that pays homage to New York City by recreating to scale some of its most popular tourist attractions (the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Chrysler Building, etc.) with plant materials from the botanical garden itself.
Since the Holiday Train Show is a very popular Christmas event, I recommend you book your tickets in advance on their website because they sell out.
- Bronx Zoo opening hours: Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM. Closed on Mondays. The Holiday Train Show runs from mid-November to mid-January.
- Address: New York Botanical Garden at 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx.
- Bronx Zoo Prices: From $30 for adult admission (ages 13 to 64) and from $16 for children (ages 2 to 12).