Seattle zoo celebrates holidays with ‘Wildlights’ display

Seattle zoo
Woodland Park Zoo Wildlights annual display.

Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo combines wildlife with holiday lights during the annual “Wildlights” exhibit, which runs through Jan. 5. My daughter Mallory and I took in the event last year while I was in Seattle. We will attend this year’s event, as well.

More than 600,000 LED lights are on display in the shape of animals, insects and nature. Trees are bushes are decorated in festive colors along pathways, as well. You know you’re in for a treat as soon as you get in line near the front entrance. The area is decorated in a variety of colors.

Inside the zoo, visitors immediately get a fantastic view – lights highlight an arch greeting them, offering an invitation to explore the Wildlights more.

An open green space offers a look at wildlife through holiday lights. During our visit, the exhibit highlighted the Savannah, so visitors saw lions, gazelle, flamingos, giraffes and elephants, all through the magic of holiday lights. Recorded animals sound add to the experience.

Seattle zoo
African grassland display.

Mallory and I enjoyed the visit. We liked almost every exhibit we viewed. My favorite was a tiger on a tree.

Seattle zoo
Tiger lights.

Mallory loves penguins, so hers, obviously, was the penguin display.

Seattle zoo
Penguin lights.

But, there’s more than just our favorites. A moose display gave the impression of being in the northwest – a silhouette of Ponderosa pine trees stands in front of white lights enhancing the view. Deer and meerkats also light up the darkness.

Seattle zoo
A Pacific Northwest holiday.

Bears, gorillas and butterflies were popular light displays during our visit.

Seattle zoo

Visitors can take in some of the zoo’ actual wildlife, including a Komodo dragon, giant frogs, crocodiles and turtles.

Seattle zoo
Komodo dragon.

Besides the holiday lights, people can take in a “snowball” fight at the Snowmazium. The attraction is geared toward kids. It provides a warm break on a chilly winter evening for all visitors.

Another family idea is a ride on the enclosed carousel. It helps break up the hour or so people spend at the zoo for Wildlights.

Santa Claus and his reindeer visit the zoo through Dec. 22. Santa welcomed everyone during our visit. His stop was very popular with people, as the crowd was a good 10 people deep. The reindeer seemed to enjoy their dinner.

“Wildlights” at Woodland Park Zoo is a wonderful holiday attraction at the Seattle zoo. It runs 5:30-8:30 p.m. nightly, so it allows visitors flexibility in visiting. The tour took us a little more than an hour, but I’m sure you can take longer there if you’d prefer.

For more information on “Wildlights,” please visit