Brookfield Zoo’s 42nd annual Holiday Magic, Chicagoland’s longest-running lights festival, takes place from 3 to 9 p.m. Nov. 24-26, and 30 and Dec. 1-3, 7-10, 14-17, 21-23, and 26-31. The Zoo will not open until 3 p.m. on these dates.
The park is illuminated with two million LED lights, creating a winter wonderland to be enjoyed by guests of all ages. Light displays of giant animals—bison, reindeer, giraffe and bear—can be seen throughout the zoo, and guests are sure to get in the holiday spirit as they stroll through two, 300-foot light tunnels synchronized to seasonal tunes. Adding to the ambience are the nearly 900 lit and decorated community and corporate trees located on the zoo’s malls and around Roosevelt Fountain.
Nightly entertainment from 5 to 8 p.m. takes place throughout the zoo. At the North Pole, located in The Pavilions, guests can take in performances by Those Funny Little People and juggling elves, and youngsters can share their wish lists and have their photos taken with Santa. Youngsters can also deposit their holiday wish lists in the Santa Letter Drop Box. On the Nature Stage, zoogoers can watch professional ice carvers create frozen works of art from giant blocks of ice. And, while strolling the walkways, join in the merrymaking with the roaming carolers as they sing holiday songs.
Dance parties take place at the Polar Plaza (aka Hamill Family Nature Plaza). Additionally, guests can take a spin on The Carousel and check out the zoo’s seasonal virtual reality experience, “Elf Power,” featuring Santa’s helpers on a virtual reality journey with reindeer who are bringing holiday cheer to all. An extra fee applies to both attractions.
Several indoor and outdoor animal habitats are open during Holiday Magic, including Tropic World, Big Cats, The Swamp, Feathers and Scales, Reptiles and Birds, Desert’s Edge, Clouded Leopard Rain Forest, The Living Coast, Hamill Family Wild Encounters (reindeer and goats only), Great Bear Wilderness, Australia House and Hamill Family Play Zoo. All indoor animal buildings close at 8:30 p.m., except for Tropic World and Hamill Family Play Zoo, which close at 8 p.m.
Admission to Holiday Magic is $29.95 for adults, $20.95 for children and $24.95 for seniors 65 and older. Parking is $17-$20. Advanced reservations are not required for entry at the North Gate, however, guests are encouraged to secure admission and parking online prior to their visit. For South Gate entry, advance reservations and parking fees are required for all attendees, including zoo members. To make reservations and for more information, visit CZS.org/HolidayMagic.