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Want to see over 1 million lights with your loved ones while you stroll through the St. Louis Zoo sipping hot cocoa? If so, Wild Lights at the St. Louis Zoo is the perfect event for you and your family. We wanted to take our kids to a cool lights display in St. Louis. They love the zoo so much anyway that we knew we had to check it out, so we decided to surprise them with a hotel stay and tickets!
We got to the zoo early and I would recommend you do too! We arrived at 5:30 and got a parking spot with no issues. Parking is free for the Wild Lights, but it fills up FAST. By the time we left the zoo around 7 pm, both lots were full.
The bridge from the south parking lot is covered in lights and is so pretty!! You can walk right into the zoo and they will take your tickets when you enter.
In the large area, there are a few photo ops set up. We stood in line for about 5 minutes and the people behind you or in front of you will always volunteer to take your family’s photo for you. We decided we needed a photo in the giant Christmas ornament – it was so cool!
After that, we waited maybe 10 minutes and then were let in the zoo to roam as we pleased. There were no set routes and you could stay as long as you wanted to!
We headed down Falalala-Flamingo Row first! It was so gorgeous!! I loved all the flamingoes and the bright-colored lights.
We took a lot of photos together and loved how they had places set up where you could take photos along the way.
Next up was The Twinkle Tunnel and it super cool to walk through! As you walked through, the lights changed colors.
They had several places where you could stop and have your photo taken – there was never a dull moment on any the paths! We were constantly marveling at the number of lights and how long it must have taken to set everything up. I’m sure they had many people helping but still. It was one of the BEST light displays we’ve ever seen!
I think my favorite lights were the palm tree display and then the display around the penguin & puffin exhibit. The penguin exhibit was open and since they are our favorites ANY day, we had to go in!
There were some penguins outside, but most were inside. Did you know that the St. Louis Zoo lets their penguins take walks during the wintertime? Penguins who decide they want to go for a walk follow their keepers and take a stroll on the grounds during the day.
Kai the Polar Bear was sleeping outside when we walked by his exhibit. It would’ve been fun to see him roaming about too! It was too dark to get a photo of him so you get these polar bears instead. 🙂
I made Michael stop by Lovebirds Lookout and take a photo with me! 🙂 It was a bit difficult to get a photo with the sign – I’m not sure how they made it look so easy on the website! Better lighting was definitely needed there. I struggled to get a photo of the couple who took our photo too. I managed to fix it up a bit in Lightroom… here we are:
The Conservation Carousel was open, as well as a 4D Rudolph movie. The zoo set up firepits where you could roast marshmallows and make smores over a fire which was super cool too. They also had warming towers set up, although the night that we went to the zoo it was absolutely perfect! (Clear skies, no wind, and about 37 degrees!)
Tips for your visit to Wild Lights:
- The fountain drinks at the stands do not work, so if you want a soda you’ll have to go into one of the zoo cafes.
- The hot cocoa stands offer adults-only hot cocoa with Bailey’s or Rum Chata in it – we loved the Bailey’s hot cocoa!!
- There are basic snacks at the stands around the zoo but if you want a full meal, you’ll have to hit up the cafe.
- There is a Starbucks in the zoo that is open during the event (it is the first-ever Starbucks to be in a zoo!).
If you are looking for a fun holiday-themed event for your family to do in St. Louis we would highly recommend the Wild Lights at the St. Louis Zoo! It was $11 per person, but the cost was totally worth it!! Our boys absolutely loved it and my son Cam was asking if we could go back next year! 🙂