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Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo thru Dec. 30, 2018 @indianapoliszoo

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Christmas at the Zoo at the Indianapolis Zoo.
Photo provided by the Indianapolis Zoo and used with written permission.

By Carla Knapp
Indianapolis Zoo

INDIANAPOLIS — A light sprinkling of snow and the glow of twinkling lights will fill the sky, creating a magical nighttime experience that has become one of Central Indiana’s most beloved holiday traditions.

Christmas at the Zoo presented by Donatos and Teachers Credit Union is bigger than ever, now offering 36 nights of merriment and memories in the making. With Mondays and Tuesdays added in for the first time, the event kicked off Nov. 23 and continues daily through Dec. 30, 2018, closed only on Christmas Eve and Day. The Zoo opens at noon and Christmas at the Zoo activities go from 5-9pm, extended until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Now celebrating 50 years, the Indianapolis Zoo was the first zoo in the nation to host a holiday lights event, and this wintertime favorite continues to grow year after year.

Under the Bicentennial Pavilion, Santa’s Village is a newer addition to Christmas at the Zoo. Guests will feel like they’ve stepped inside a glittering snow globe as they walk under a festive archway and discover the whimsical scene. Children can meet the Jolly Old Elf himself inside his charming study. Families can snap photos in Santa’s Barn presented by State Farm where his magical sleigh and a few reindeer await. Plus, there are opportunities to see penguins and wintertime dogs. The Snowflakery mirror maze hides fun and surprises around every corner. For a special treat, guests can decorate cookies in Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen.

A stunning tunnel of lights will lead visitors from Santa’s Village into the rest of the beautifully decorated Zoo, which will transform at sunset into a winter wonderland. Several large displays provide memorable photo ops, including We Three Trees presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers and Christmas Tree Joy presented by Honda Manufacturing. The 100 percent LED energy-efficient lights are presented by Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent.

Additionally, many of the Zoo’s more robust animals will be out late to enjoy the cooler weather, including tigers, brown bears, walrus, red panda and others. All the Zoo’s indoor exhibits will be open to offer a perfect place for guests to go when cheeks get rosy. Plus, guests can learn more about their favorite animals during special chats throughout the day.

Christmas at the Zoo is free for Zoo members and included with regular admission. Discount tickets are available at participating Donatos and Teachers Credit Union locations. Guests can receive $1 off admission at the gate with the donation of a new hat, scarf or gloves to benefit St. Mary’s Child Center. Visit IndianapolisZoo.com for advance tickets and more information.

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