A Night of Zoo Lights: Brookfield Zoo Holiday Magic | What You Need to Know

Get ready to ignite your holiday spirit in the most dazzling way possible! Zoo Lights: Brookfield Zoo's Holiday Magic is back, bigger and brighter than ever. This holiday season, prepare to embark on a magical journey through Chicagoland's longest-running lights festival, where over two million twinkling LED lights transform the zoo into a winter wonderland like no other.


As you wander through this enchanting spectacle, you'll be transported to a world of festive cheer, making it the perfect destination to create unforgettable memories with family and friends. Let the holiday magic begin!

Holiday Magic: When To Visit
Talking tree, holiday magic @ brookfield
kids looking at polar bear (2)
Brookfield Zoo_Chicago Zoological Society (1)

Brookfield Zoo’s annual Holiday Magic is set to dazzle visitors beginning in late November through the end of December. 


Dates: November 24-26, 30 and December 1-3, 7-10, 14-17, 21-23, 26-31, 2023. 


Park Hours: Brookfield Zoo is open 3 - 9 p.m. on Holiday Magic dates.


Location: Zoowide


During these magical dates, Brookfield Zoo transforms into a luminous wonderland, opening its gates from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. for a unique nighttime experience for zoogoers. Admire the sparkling LED lights of the larger-than-life animal sculptures and stroll through a 300-foot-long tunnel of lights. 


Throughout the park are opportunities to take memorable photos to remember your visit to Brookfield Zoo, including at the luminous 20-foot-tall orb or in front of a 41-foot-tall tree, all decked out in colored LED lights and choreographed to festive music. Stop for a photo next to a 16-foot-tall 3D gingerbread house and a festive holiday-themed frame. Holiday Magic showcases a sparkling sea of lights and joy at every turn, making it a must-visit destination during the holiday season for visitors of all ages.

For information updates about holiday magic, visit

Holiday Magic: Tickets

For the 2023 edition of Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo, planning your visit is a breeze. If you're opting for North gate entry, advanced tickets are not mandatory, although non-members can purchase them in advance. For Zoo members, there's no need for North gate entry reservations. However, if you're looking to enter through the  South gate, advance reservations are a must, with parking fees applied upon reservation. The fantastic news is that Holiday Magic admission is complimentary for all Brookfield Zoo members, ensuring a magical and memorable holiday season for all.

Non-Member Tickets -  There are two options for purchasing tickets to Holiday Magic for non-members. For North Gate entry, advanced tickets are available but not required, so you can buy them when you arrive. For South Gate entry, advance tickets are needed, and parking fees will be applied at the time of purchase. 


Zoo Member Tickets - Holiday Magic entry is free for all Brookfield Zoo members. For North Gate entry, no advance reservations are required. For South Gate entry, zoo members should make a Holiday Magic reservation with their member card.  Additionally, members can redeem their guest admission vouchers for South Gate Entry during the Holiday Magic event.


To buy tickets to Holiday Magic, click here

Holiday Magic Activities

Holiday Lights at Brookfield Zoo offers a delightful array of activities and entertainment to make your visit truly magical. Enjoy interactive displays adorned with a cascade of thousands of shimmering LED lights and visit a magical 16-foot-tall 3D gingerbread house. Pose before a towering  41-foot-tall tree decorated with a symphony of colored LED lights that dance to the rhythms of festive melodies. Zoogoers have a multitude of fantastic photo opportunities at the Brookfield Zoo. Adding to the festive atmosphere are the nearly 900 lit and decorated community and corporate trees located on the Zoo’s malls and around Roosevelt Fountain.

At Polar Plaza, a lively Dance Party awaits, while you can also pen Letters to Santa and engage with adorable animals. The evening entertainment from 5 to 8 p.m. includes the North Pole at The Pavilions, where you can meet Santa, enjoy the antics of Those Funny Little People and Juggling Elves, and capture cherished memories with photos. 

Keep an ear out for the sweet sounds of roaming carolers and witness the artistry of ice carving at the Nature Stage.  Say hello to the animals at any of the indoor and outdoor animal habitats 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, Great Bear Wilderness, Australia House, and Hamill Family Play Zoo. Don't miss the chance to explore the Elf Power Virtual Reality Experiences and enjoy a spin on the carousel (weather permitting, with separate fees). And, of course, there are plenty of shopping and festive food offerings scattered throughout the zoo, ensuring that every aspect of your Holiday Lights experience is filled with joy and wonder.


Interactive Displays and Lights:

Dance Party at Polar Plaza
Letters to Santa and Animals
Photo Ops: Giant Animals, Tunnel Light Show, Walkthrough Displays & much more!


Entertainment from 5-8 p.m.

Carolers Singing Tunes

Ice Carving at the Nature Stage

North Pole at The Pavilions featuring:

Those Funny Little People
Juggling Elves
Pictures with Santa (through December 23rd)


Plus Attractions

Carousel* (open weather permitting)

Elf Power Virtual Reality Experiences* (open weather permitting)


*Separate fees apply


To check for updates to the schedule, visit the zoo’s website at 

While You’re There

A beloved state treasure and a nationally acclaimed attraction, Brookfield Zoo stands as a favorite destination for visitors hailing from both near and far. Renowned for its exceptional design and incredible creatures, the zoo offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity for visitors to intimately connect with its remarkable animals through unique encounters and immersive experiences.

Boasting a diverse array of animal habitats housing over 3,400 animals representing more than 500 distinct species from across the globe, the Brookfield Zoo has captured international acclaim for its innovative approach to animal enclosures. Ditching traditional cages, the zoo employs ingenious moats and ditches to contain its inhabitants, providing a more natural and engaging environment. This groundbreaking facility proudly hosts beloved animals like giant pandas, giraffes, and polar bears, as well as a fully indoor dolphin exhibit and the first-ever fully indoor rainforest simulation. Come and explore the wonders that await within the captivating world of Brookfield Zoo!

Visiting the Zoo

Nestled just outside the vibrant city of Chicago, Illinois, Brookfield Zoo promises an unforgettable experience for families and friends seeking a day filled with cherished memories. With captivating special exhibits, thrilling encounters, and a calendar bursting with exciting seasonal activities, this renowned zoo has long been a go-to destination for generations of fun-seekers. Managed by The Chicago Zoological Society, the zoo has earned global recognition for its unwavering commitment to top-tier animal care and wildlife conservation. 

The best part? This world-renowned facility is conveniently located in the heart of Brookfield, Illinois, at 8400 31st Street. More than a single visit might be necessary to explore all the wonders the zoo offers, which is why many choose to become zoo members, unlocking the opportunity for multiple visits throughout the year. The zoo offers a variety of membership packages catering to the diverse needs of individuals and families. 


They include:


Basic – includes zoo admission and parking at the main entrance.


Plus – includes basic benefits plus tickets to attractions you choose.


Unlimited – includes basic benefits plus admission to all attractions on every visit and parking at both entrances.


Plus, every member receives:


Free admission for one year
Free parking for one vehicle at the main entrance (1st Ave. and 31st Street)
Member discounts on selected attractions inside the zoo
Publications including member emails and Gateways, the quarterly member magazine
Restaurant discounts
Education program and special event discounts


Get A Membership Today




Book your day today by visiting the zoo’s website: