Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo runs throughout December

Families and friends can enjoy the festive season at Brookfield Zoo’s 40th annual Holiday Magic on select dates through December.

Prior to arriving at the zoo, guests are required to secure advanced admission and parking tickets online at

As the Chicago area’s longest-running lights festival, Holiday Magic has more than two million twinkling LED lights. Several new features have been added to this year’s event, including the Sea of Light, showcasing more than two miles of colorful, sparkling lights on the zoo’s entire West Mall; a 41-foot-tall tree adorned with thousands of LED lights choreographed to seasonal tunes; and a 3D, 16-foot-tall gingerbread house that guests can walk through as the a backdrop for a family photo.

Additionally, there is the 600-foot-long Tunnel of Lights synchronized to music, the luminous 20-foot-tall orb aglow with thousands of lights, more than 700 community and corporate trees decorated with ornaments along the walkways and around Roosevelt Fountain, and larger-than-life animal sculptures.

Guests of all ages can play the Game of Gnomes, and embark on a scavenger hunt. Each gnome, measuring between 12 and 20 inches high, can be found around the zoo.

Many of the indoor and outdoor animal habitats are open, and there is a festive Dolphins in Action presentation (extra fee applies) at 4 and 6 p.m. each night. In addition, restaurants and food stands offer holiday-themed fare for purchase, and gift shops feature unique gift ideas.

Holiday Magic will take place from 3 to 9 p.m. Dec. 8-12, 15-19 and 26-31. Brookfield Zoo will not open until 3 p.m. on Holiday Magic days. The zoo is at 3300 Golf Road in Brookfield.