This year’s ZooLights won’t be free

The Smithsonian National Zoo says its annual ZooLights event in D.C. will return from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. starting on Nov. 24 and continuing through Dec. 30.

But it won’t be free.

The annual event, now in its 15th year, will cost $6 per person, and children over 2 will have to have a ticket, the National Zoo said. Additionally, people can pay a flat-rate parking fee of $30.

Money from the ticket sales will go to “animal care and conservation science at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute,” the zoo said.

“Paid tickets are a change from past years when this special event was free to attend,” the zoo said in a release. “The ticket fee will offset the significant increase in costs associated with running this event.”

Just like in previous years, people will see LED lights, illuminations and animal lanterns. They can also see live music performances, do some holiday shopping and enjoy food favorites.

“Special winter treats, including s’mores, popcorn, kettle corn, holiday cookies, soft pretzels and seasonal gelato, will be available for purchase. Hungry visitors can dine outdoors at Sbarro or enjoy ZooLights specials at Bootheel BBQ, including brisket chili, gumbo and jambalaya,” the zoo said.

Check out the dates below:

  • Week 1: Friday, Nov. 24 to Sunday, Nov. 27
  • Week 2: Thursday, Nov. 30 to Sunday, Dec. 3
  • Week 3: Thursday, Dec. 7 to Sunday, Dec. 10
  • Week 4: Thursday, Dec. 14 to Sunday, Dec. 17
  • Week 5 & 6: Thursday, Dec. 21 to Saturday, Dec. 30 (Closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)

“ZooLights will be held rain or shine,” National Zoo officials say.

More information on the event is included on the zoo’s website.

Tadiwos Abedje

Tadi Abedje is a freelance digital writer/editor for WTOP. He was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Northern Virginia. Journalism has been his No. 1 passion since he was a kid and he is blessed to be around people, telling their stories and sharing them with the world.

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