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Wildlights At The Columbus Zoo And Aquarium Returns For A Spectacular Season

? This post is sponsored by Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. But rest assured, all thoughts and opinions are our own. ?

Once again, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has undergone a magical transformation.

Powered with millions of LED lights, this winter wonderland display is one of the most popular family traditions during the holiday season around Columbus. Wildlights, efficiently powered by AEP Ohio, officially opens for guests today, Friday, November 18, 2022. The whimsical display will be open through Sunday, January 1, 2023.

The Wildlights and I were born the same year, and at 34, we’ve both got some pretty cool stuff going on. But let’s focus on the Wildlights. This year, there’s even more holiday cheer to be found.

Sounds of the Season will feature choirs, bands, and musical groups from a variety of local schools and organizations on select nights throughout the season. The 12 Days of Wildlights train ride will be themed to the Zoo’s very own rendition of the iconic song, the 12 days of Christmas.

Photo by Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Also new this year, the Jolliest Holiday craft beer celebration will give guests who are 21+ the chance to sample over 40 craft beers, ciders, and seltzers at various stops throughout the park.

Of course, no visit to the Wildlights is complete without taking advantage of all of the incredible light displays, including the Sparkling Spruce, the Jingle Jam area, The Rudolph 4D experience, and more.

There will be places where guests can roast a giant marshmallow for smores and a reindeer corral where you can stop in and see these furry fellas before they take off on their big journey around the world with Santa. And speaking of the man in charge…

The Santa Experience will offer families the chance to talk to Santa and then get a photo near him. There is no cost to come and chat with him, although photos do require additional purchases.

If you want to see the largest variety of animals, you’ll want to arrive at the zoo before it starts to get dark. Some animals may still be outside, depending on the weather, but you’ll also be able to see several species in their indoor enclosures.

Photo by Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Very large crowds are expected for Wildlights, so it’s always a good idea to arrive at the zoo a little early. Regular Zoo hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Wildlights activities take place Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The Zoo will be closed on Thanksgiving Day (November 24) and Christmas Day (December 25), as well as for Wildlights on Christmas Eve (December 24).
Wildlights are included with Zoo admission. Regular admission rates apply to all guests, and admission is free for Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Members.
For additional updates about the Columbus Zoo, visit