Plan Your Houston Zoo Lights Visit and Save Animals in the Wild

Plan Your Houston Zoo Lights Visit and Save Animals in the Wild

December 02 2023

Everyone’s favorite holiday season is finally here, TXU Energy presents Zoo Lights! Enjoy this dazzling holiday lights experience from November 17, 2023 until January 7, 2024. The Zoo Lights season hours are 5:30-10:30 p.m., with last entry at 9:30 p.m.

From the inception of the first TXU Energy presents Zoo Lights event 12 years ago, Houston Zoo has hosted nearly 3 million guests for what has become one of Houston’s favorite holiday traditions! While the Houston Zoo strives to make TXU Energy presents Zoo Lights a fun and memorable experience for all, the Houston Zoo's overarching goal in all they do is to save animals in the wild.

Check out what you need to know below before your Zoo Lights trip.    

1. Get your tickets early

Get your tickets early for the best price. During the holiday season, ticket prices will be higher on weekends and holidays. Flex pricing allows you to pick a day that fits not only your schedule, but your budget as well!

Buying early also secures your spot. TXU Energy presents Zoo Lights is one of the most popular times at the Zoo and tickets can sell out on busier nights. Make sure to buy your tickets today!   


2. Arrive early and plan ahead with your parking options  

During TXU Energy presents Zoo Lights, parking and traffic can get busier than usual around Hermann Park. The Houston Zoo recommends exploring other options to get the Zoo while avoiding increased traffic. Grab your crew and carpool or rideshare. 

see parking options here

3.  Enhance your Zoo visit with holiday treats 

What better way to enjoy the holiday season than adding a s’mores kit or hot chocolate voucher to your visit? You can add on the vouchers when purchasing your TXU Energy presents Zoo Lights tickets online and then redeem when you arrive at Zoo Lights!  


4. Order food ahead or pack your own snacks 

Hungry? There are multiple food and beverage locations available throughout the Zoo serving holiday treats, including churros, s’mores, and more. Outside food, drink, and coolers are allowed, with the exception of alcohol and glass. We have water bottle filling stations throughout the Zoo, so make sure to bring your reusable water bottle!   

If you don’t want to wait in line skip it and order your food online! You can order food online for quick and easy pick-up at Cypress Circle Café.  

place your order here

5. Use the Zoo Lights digital map 

Make your TXU Energy presents Zoo Lights visit more interactive with our digital map. Navigate the Zoo Lights path with the Houston Zoo's interactive map using your smartphone. Once you’re on Zoo grounds, tap on “Share Location” so you can navigate to different areas in the Zoo with ease. It’s a great tool to locate all your favorite photo ops and where to buy seasonal treats.

view zoo lights map here

6. Tag Houston Zoo in your Zoo Lights photos  

Enjoy all the holiday-inspired photo-ops across the Zoo! See the brightest and sparkly of lights as you experience TXU Energy presents Zoo Lights.

Zoo Lights Impact

Since 2015, Houston Zoo has been instrumental in collecting over 31,000 pounds of holiday lights for recycling, equivalent to the weight of five female elephants! Thanks to Zoo guests and partners, this waste has been diverted from landfills, thus protecting the habitats of native animals including turtles, bobcats, coyotes, and black bears.

The commitment to landfill diversion at the Zoo extends beyond recycling lights, with a focus on ensuring that old displays are neither discarded nor sent to landfills. In an effort to be sustainable, every operational decision is made consciously, with the aim of repurposing or responsibly recycling items that cannot be restored. The Zoo breathes new life into decorations of the past, transforming them into reimagined displays throughout the premises.

Additionally, as part of a broader impact, the Zoo acknowledges its role in one of North America's busiest bird migration routes, advocating for the protection of migratory species by turning off non-essential lights, including those during the popular Zoo Lights event, each night by 11:00 p.m. This approach aims to prevent artificial lights from disorienting birds that navigate by the stars during their fall migration, urging the community to join in by minimizing non-essential lights between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. throughout the season.

Don’t forget to tag the Houston Zoo or use hashtag #houstonzoo for a chance to be featured on their social channels during the holiday season. 

Source: Houston Zoo

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