Events

The Zoo Will Turn Into a Magical Holiday Lights Wonderland in November

LumiNature, a new interactive holiday lights display, will debut at the zoo on November 20th.


luminature philadelphia zoo

Yep, that tree is made of flamingos. Rendering courtesy Philadelphia Zoo

The Philadelphia Zoo has been crushing it lately. If the goal was to take it from a popular spot for tots in strollers and turn it into an all-ages destination, they’re certainly going about it the right way. They brought back the nostalgia-inducing Zoo Keys (millennials love nostalgia!). They opened a new beer garden (cool!). They built a zip line and ropes course (scary but fun!). In fact, they’ve done such a nice job giving us new reasons to visit that we named them the Best Institution to Rediscover in this year’s Best of Philly issue.

And now, they’re giving us yet another reason to relive our childhoods: a new, sparkly holiday-season light display that’ll turn the zoo into a magical wonderland (read: Instagram playground), starting November 20th.

It’s been dubbed “LumiNature,” and it’ll feature more than 600,000 holiday lights and 12 “experiences” featuring lit-up displays like a 21-foot tall snake, a 25-foot tree crafted out of flamingo lawn ornaments, 200 glowing penguins, oversized flowers, and more.

luminature philadelphia zoo

One exhibit will feature glowing orbs and flowers. Rendering courtesy Philadelphia Zoo

luminature philadelphia zoo

Hundreds of illuminated penguins will make up “Penguin Peace on Earth.” Rendering courtesy Philadelphia Zoo

Given that this interactive experience will be open at night, when the zoo animals are sleeping, you shouldn’t plan on seeing a lot of living creatures during your LumiNature visit. Instead, you’ll get to explore illuminated versions of the animal exhibits, designed with the help of Oak Island Creative. For example, there’s the “Big Cat Stalk,” which features a path of glowing tall “grass” with gleaming cat eyes.

luminature philadelphia zoo

The “Big Cat Stalk” exhibit. Rendering courtesy Philadelphia Zoo

luminature philadelphia zoo

The “Snake Away” exhibit. Rendering courtesy Philadelphia Zoo

Of course, the experience wouldn’t be complete without seasonal foods, hot chocolate, entertainment by strolling performers, and “ever-warming adult beverages” that are promised to “spark the holiday spirit.” Ahem.

“This tailor-made fantastical adventure brings the joy of animals, nature and the holiday season together in a way that will take your breath away,” said Philadelphia Zoo chief marketing officer Amy Shearer in a press release. “This is a first for Philadelphia Zoo and I can tell you, we are all very, very excited!”

LumiNature will open Wednesday, November 20th, and remain open through January 5th. To visit, you’ll need to purchase a timed ticket, which will be available on the zoo’s website in mid-October. Tickets will be $24 for adults and $19 for children.