Santa Barbara

ZooLights to Enjoy Its Inaugural Illumination in Santa Barbara

Bulbs bring beastie-big beauty to life at this special happening; treats, photo spots, and cameos by Santa are in the whimsical works.

Santa Barbara Zoo

What to Know

  • Santa Barbara Zoo
  • Now through Jan. 15, 2023; some nights may be closed, including several Mondays and Tuesdays, so check the site before you go
  • Admission starts at $22 for an adult and $20 child (ages 2 to 12); peak-hour prices start at $32 adult, $30 child

SANTA BARBARA ZOO... is known for a whole caboodle of cute characters, features, and fun memories. There are the capybaras, those super-serene superstars that instantly please onlookers, and people just couldn't get enough of Pauline when the lion cub made her 2021 debut. And that handsome Humboldt penguin, Monty, even boasts his own charming children's book. So when the animal park decides to do it up for the holidays, with a whole new "immersive holiday experience," one that celebrates both the animal world and our connection to nature, we know there will be plenty of nice and notable moments to anticipate. And the anticipation is starting in animal-adoring earnest: ZooLights will sparkle through Jan. 15, 2023.

Santa Barbara Zoo

50,000 LED BULBS: The whimsical wattage will take on all sorts of beautiful beastly shapes, with various lighted sculptures looking like big cats, big birds, or the other critters we (understandably) obsess over pretty much daily. The handcrafted lanterns — they're silk — will transport viewers across the planet, all to behold some of the natural wonders far beyond the American Riviera. And when you're not basking in all of this moving grandeur? There shall be goodies of a seasonal variety, places to take photos, and, on occasion, Santa will stop by. It's an ethereal opportunity to bundle up on a brisk night, all to behold the place where art, wonder, and the wider and wonderful world intersect. And a sprinkling of seasonal sweetness? That only adds to the airy enchantment.

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