TACOMA, Wash. Its almost that most wonderful time of the year. In just 23 days, the switch will be thrown to illuminate more than 650,000 brilliant, energy-efficient lights in whimsical and realistic animal shapes, plus local landmarks, covering the grounds at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.
Tickets go on sale Nov. 1 for Zoolights, the Puget Sound regions longest running and most-loved holiday lights extravaganza.
Zoolights begins Nov. 24 and runs through Jan. 1. Hours are 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. nightly, except for a one-night closure on Dec. 24.
Discounted tickets at just $8.50 per person will be available online to the general public beginning Nov. 1 at www.pdza.org/zoolights.
They also will be available at the Customer Service desks of all Puget Sound-area Fred Meyer stores beginning this week.
Zoolights, which began in 1988 with a relatively few light displays, is marking its 30th annual edition in 2017.
And it is guaranteed to be bigger, brighter and more colorful than ever. Right from the front gate, guests will dive into a sea of lights featuring a 100-foot-giant, color-changing octopus; a huge orange-and-white crab with moving pincers; a sensational 8-foot-long sea turtle; hammerhead sharks; majestic eagle rays; giant jellyfish and an array of other sea creatures.
These displays put the spotlight on many of the animals that will be highlighted in the new Pacific Seas Aquarium, which is due to open next summer.
But Zoolights wont just take visitors under the sea. The elaborate displays some whimsical, some true to life feature endangered and engaging species from around the world.
Everywhere visitors look, there are lights, lights and more lights.
But its not all about the lights. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium features dozens of animals that are not asleep during Zoolights.
Visitors can warm up in the steamy South Pacific Aquarium while they watch 16 large sharks of five different species and an array of other fish. They also can get up-close views of dozens of sea creatures in the North Pacific Aquarium. And watch the antics of meerkats in Kids Zone.
Plus, there are camel rides and spins on an antique carousel filled with beautifully carved animals.
In fact, any night is a great night for Zoolights.
And a great strategy to get both a price break and skip the lines is to purchase tickets online or in advance at area Fred Meyer stores.
Heres the rundown on tickets for everyone. (Children 2 and younger are admitted at no charge):
Zoo members: $5 per person online at www.pdza.org/zoolights or at the Front Gate.
General Admission at the gate: $10 per person.
Military Discount Nights, Nov. 27 and 29 and Dec. 4, 6, 11 and 13: $8 per person (available at the Front Gate only) for active duty military and other veterans who have served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces and their dependents. Proof of service is required.
Scout Discount Night, Dec. 5: $8 per person (at the Front Gate only) for members of Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Camp Fire members in uniform or wearing their pins. Each Scout or Camp Fire member may also bring up to 20 additional non-registered youth group members at the discounted price.
Zoolights is presented by Fred Meyer with support from KING 5.
For more information, go to www.pdza.org/zoolights.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, the Northwests only combined zoo and aquarium, practices and promotes responsible stewardship of the worlds resources through education, conservation, research and recreational opportunities. The zoo, a division of Metro Parks Tacoma, is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA).