Bronx, NY – Oct. 28, 2022 – The opening of Holiday Lights at the Bronx Zoo marks the unofficial start to the New York City holiday season. The family-favorite tradition opens to the public on Friday, November 18 and will run on select dates through Jan. 8.

Holiday Lights is a fully outdoor experience. The six lantern trails have been reimagined and more than 70 new lanterns/30 new species have been added for 2022. In all, there are more than 360 wildlife-themed lanterns representing 90 species spread across an expansive area of the zoo. There are six lantern trails that depict scenes from geographic regions and ecosystems: North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia, oceans, and the Forest of Color which features larger-than-life representations of some of the lesser known but impressively colorful animals and plants vital to the Earth’s ecosystems.

“Holiday Lights returned to the Bronx Zoo in 2019 and each year we have grown the event significantly” said Jim Breheny, Bronx Zoo Director. “Each year we add more animal lanterns and new experiences. Holiday Lights is now bigger than ever and gives everyone an exciting new way to learn about wildlife while experiencing the spirit of the season.”

The event includes massive light shows, synchronized to seasonal music, on historic Astor Court. Additional trees and features have been added making this the zoo’s biggest light show experience ever. Glowing animal-themed stilt walkers, train rides, Wildlife Theater shows, ice carving demonstrations, and seasonal treats including s’mores and hot chocolate make for a complete Holiday outing for the whole family. 

The media preview and opening ceremonies will be on Tuesday, Nov 15 at 5pm. followed by (sold out) members only preview nights November 15-17. Working media should RSVP in advance and are encouraged to arrive by 4:30pm.

In addition to the dozens of new animal lanterns, expanded light shows, and activities, the zoo has added several special nights to the line-up. December 2-4 will be a Pajama Party Weekend; December 26-30 will feature professional holiday carolers; New Year’s Eve will include a family-friendly new year countdown; and Schiff Family Great Hall will be transformed into a one-of-a-kind Illuminated Playground January 6-8.

November 29 will be a special sensory-inclusive night designed for guests who thrive in a sensory-supportive environment. During this special evening, guests can expect all the elements of a great Holiday Lights experience with some modifications to make it more sensory friendly.

Holiday Lights will operate on select dates from November 18 to January 8. Tickets for Holiday Lights must be purchased in advance and are date specific. Tickets are now available online. Visit the Know before You Go page for all details.

WCS members receive a 40-percent discount. Members at the Conservation Supporter level will receive free admission to Holiday Lights.

MEDIA NOTE: For members of the media wishing to cover the November 15 opening night and the official flipping of the switch to turn on the lights, please contact Max Pulsinelli at or 571-218-7601.

Bronx Zoo’s Holiday Lights is presented by Con Edison

Media Video (2021):

Video credit: © Bronx Zoo

Media Photos (2021):

Photo credits: Julie Larsen Maher © Bronx Zoo