(Milwaukee, WI): The Milwaukee County Zoo is once again set to light up the holiday season with its much-anticipated event, Wild Lights 2023. The spectacle promises to be a dazzling celebration of the festive spirit, and an experience that promises fun for the entire family. From December 1, 2023, through December 31, 2023, the Zoo will transform into a magical wonderland of lights, music, and holiday cheer.
Dates & Times
- Open Dec. 1-31; except closed Dec. 4, 5, 11, 12, 24, and 25
- 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (admission gates close at 8:15 p.m.)
An Enchanting Night Out with Spectacular Light Displays
Wild Lights has become a beloved tradition, and this year’s event promises to be even more enchanting. The entire zoo will be aglow with over 300,000 LED lights, creating a breathtaking, immersive experience. Visitors of all ages will be transported into a world of dazzling color and holiday magic.
Delightful Entertainment & Animal Experiences
Beyond the spectacular light displays, Wild Lights offers a lineup of delightful entertainment. Carolers singing your favorite holiday tunes, warm fires for toasting marshmallows, and a holiday-themed train ride are just some of the experiences that await you.
- These animal buildings are open from 5:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m on select nights:
- Aquatic & Reptile Center: Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23, 29, and 30
- Florence Mila Borchert Big Cat Country: Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, and 22
- Elephant Care Center: Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22, 23, 29, and 30
- Festive food and drinks – available for purchase.
- North Shore Bank Safari Train (weather depending) – Enjoy a crisp, winter woodland ride.
- Penzeys Carousel (weather depending) – Ride atop your favorite animal on this old-fashioned favorite.
- Wild Lights Guide– to accommodate guests with sensory sensitivities, a special Wild Lights Guide will be available to enjoy this sparkly event.
- Wild Lights for Wildlife – Drop off working and non-working lights for recycling to help wildlife! Recycling lights keeps them out of landfills — less space for landfills means more space for wildlife! Proceeds support Wisconsin’s Endangered Resources Fund.
- A 28-foot Pixel Pine Tree on display in the front entrance mall! This special Pixel Pine is a very merry musical tree adorned with Wild Lights animals.
- A colossal 12-foot LiteZilla Light Wall! It’s not an ordinary canvas, but rather, a massive, glowing masterpiece just waiting for your creative spark.
- Santa visits Wild Lights: Meet Jolly ‘ole St. Nick himself and receive a FREE photo: Dec. 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, and 23.
- Wild Lights for Wildlife: Drop off working and non-working lights for recycling to help wildlife! Recycling lights keeps them out of landfills — less space for landfills means more space for wildlife! Proceeds support Wisconsin’s Endangered Resources Fund.
- Wild Connections Tours: To make your sparkly night an even more memorable experience, “Go Wild” with an up-close encounter to meet a Humboldt penguin or reticulated giraffe! These popular tours are offered for a fee, and advance registration is required.
- Penguin Pool Party tours offered: Dec. 27, 29, and 31
- Giraffe Jamboree tours offered: Dec. 26, 28, and 30
New this year: Drive-Thru Dates
Enjoy Wild Lights from the comfort of your car! Drive Thru dates: Dec. 3, 10, 17, 18, and 19.
The Drive Thru experience travels on a 1-mile route, along Zoo pathways near the illuminated themed areas, as guests enjoy the warmth and comfort of their car. Food and merchandise stops are available for purchases during this approximately 30-minute ride. Timed entry is every 30 minutes; the last car admittance is at 9:00 p.m. Advance, online tickets for the Drive Thru are required, and animals are not viewable during these Drive Thru nights. It is $40 per carload.
Child (3-12): $16
Child (2 and under): FREE
General Admission at the Gate**
Child (3-12): $18
Child (2 and under): FREE
**Zoological Society members receive 20% discount online and at the gate with code jolly and membership ID. Discount must be applied at the time of purchase.
Wild Lights Wednesdays (Dec. 6, 13, 20 only)
Adult or Child: $12 at the gate and online; no additional discount for Zoological Society members.
For groups of 20 or more – Call the Group Sales Department at 414-256-5430.
It’s recommended to purchase your Wild Lights tickets in advance to secure your preferred date and time. All the info can be found here.
Wild Lights is an outdoor experience, so grab your scarf and mittens and enjoy the winter and (hopefully) snow globe conditions.
Wild Lights at the Milwaukee Zoo has become a cherished holiday tradition, and for good reason. It’s a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the season with loved ones, surrounded by the beauty of nature and the magic of holiday lights. Don’t miss out on this spectacular event that’s sure to create lasting memories for your family!