Don’t miss: Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo

Christmas At Indianapolis Zoo - Indy's Child Growing up on the west side of Indianapolis, my parents took my sister and I on all types of adventures around the city. We saw the Nutcracker, Disney on Ice and Christmas at the Zoo. Unfortunately, I have very few memories of these events but we thankfully just moved back to Indy and are able to experience them through the eyes of our two year old. Since the weather was fantastically warm last week, we headed out to Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo to get our first taste together as a fam.
Did I mention that two of my favorite things are Christmas lights and animals?
The Indianapolis Zoo has combined both of these for a sensational night out.
It was great seeing the animals at night because some of them were more active than they are during the day. Our family’s highlights of the night were the train ride, singing with the carolers and cookie decorating.

Christmas At Indianapolis Zoo - Indy's Child

My favorite part was the Christmas light displays throughout the zoo. The number of lights they put up is unfathomable and several of the displays are set to music. {As a side not: My photo does not do them justice, so you definitely need to see them for yourself!} We were there for two and a half hours and weren’t able to see all of the attractions we wanted, so I suggest making sure you go for more time or split it into two trips.
So to whet your appetite even more, here’s a rundown of all the activities included when you visit for Christmas Lights at the Indianapolis Zoo:
Christmas At The Indianapolis Zoo - Indy's ChildScheduled Activities
  • – 3pm: Penguin Feed Demonstration (Oceans) presentend by Dippin Dots​
  • – 5pm: Meerkat Chat (Deserts) Our meerkat mob may head to bed afterwards.
  • – 5:30pm: Seal/Sea Lion Chat (Entry Plaza) presented by Carrier
  • – 6pm: Alaskan Brown Bear Chat (Forests)
  • – 6:30pm: Dolphin Presentation (Dolphin Pavilion)
  • – 7:15pm: Dog Shark Chat (Oceans)
  • – 8pm: Dolphin Presentation (Dolphin Pavilion)
Stop By to See Santa in White River Gardens
  • – Santa’s Workshop presented by Chick-fil-A features free visits with Santa through Dec. 23 (great photo packages available*).
  • – Decorate cookies with help from Mrs. Claus through Dec. 23, in Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen.
  • – Write letters to Santa and thank-you letters after Christmas.
  • – Enjoy Santa’s Tropical Paradise and a scavenger hunt inside the Hilbert Conservatory.
Holiday Lights
  • – We Three Trees presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers in Encounters
  • – All-A-Glow Light Show presen​ted by United Healthcare in place of the Kroger Splash Park
  • – Christmas Tree Joy Light Display presented by Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC
  • – All holiday lights are 100 percent LED energy efficient!
Christmas At Indianapolis Zoo - Indy's ChildCarolers (before Christmas)
  • – Traditional carolers singing around the back campfire from 6-8pm. TIP: Come ready to request your favorite holiday songs! (This was Sophie’s favorite part of the night!)
  • – Performances by local school choirs (at Café on the Commons). Check out the lineup here.
Find the Mistletoe
  • ​​- Be on the lookout for up to 10 mistletoes and register inside the Gift Shop to win one of two Animal Art Adventures. You must find at least 5 to enter.
Memorable Holiday Photo Ops*
  • – Front Gate as you enter – especially near the reindeer!
  • – Santa photos in White River Gardens
  • – Sleigh in Oceans
What’s the scoop on admission?

Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo is included with regular admission and free for Zoo members! Discounted tickets are available at participating Donatos and Teachers Credit Union locations. You can also save on admission by purchasing advance tickets online. Receive $1 off admission when you bring a new hat, scarf or glove donation for the Mitten Donation Tree that supports our local St. Mary’s Child Center.​​​ (One item per person).

And if you’d like even more of a sneak peak, here’s a video the Indianapolis Zoo has showcased on their website:

In all, I’m thrilled we had a chance to visit the Zoo as a family and kickoff our own traditions together – and ones we’ll remember for years to come.


MORE INFO: Christmas At The Indianapolis Zoo runs Wednesday-Sunday from now until January 3 plus December 21-22 and December 28-29 from 5-9pm. They have also been nominated for USA Today’s 10 Best Zoo Lights in the U.S. and need your help to put them on top. Cast your vote here and vote daily until December 21st. The Indianapolis Zoo is located at 1200 W. Washington St, in downtown Indianapolis. Call {317} 630-2001 or visit for more details. 

Shelly Bergman - Indy's Child WriterAbout Shelly:

Shelly Bergman is a freelance writer who began writing in 2013 after the birth of her daughter. After being away from Indiana for 6 years, she has brought her family back to the place her heart belongs. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Indy, working on projects for her new home, or planning yet another Disney vacation. Above all, her deepest passion is her family. She loves adventuring with her travel sidekick Sophie (2), playing board games with her husband Jeffrey, and enjoying the park with her dog Lexi. When she’s not crafting or writing for her blog DIY Mama she is working as a personal home organizer. Follow along in her adventures at @shellybergman on Instagram or @shelly_bergman on Twitter.


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