Complete Guide to the Calgary Zoo Lights

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Calgary Zoo Lights

Every year around the start of the Christmas season the Calgary Zoo strings over 2 million lights around their grounds and invites everyone to come over after dark, and it’s spectacular. It really transforms the regular Calgary Zoo know and love, into a themed magical winter wonderland. If you haven’t been to the Calgary Zoo Lights yet, you have to go at least once! but I recommend a couple visits to take it all in. There’s lights of course, but there’s also hot chocolate and cookies and giant litebrite and free ice skating and food and games and other things to check out. There’s even log fueled fire pits throughout the grounds so everyone can cozy up and keep warm, even on the coldest of nights.

It’s not always the same, either! Each year the Calgary Zoo adopts a different theme.

2018 Calgary Zoo Lights Description

Wander both indoors and out with the ENMAX Conservatory activities and displays featuring Snow White, the evil queen and the seven stewards of the forest. Throughout our magically decorated topical oasis and surrounding gardens, you’ll find a Giant Gingerbread House, an Enchanted Forest, an Apple Wishing Tree, our Sustainability Factory with craft stations and Santa himself. (presented by Olympia Trust Company)

Calgary Zoo

2017 Calgary Zoo Lights Description

Light up your smile indoors and out with the ENMAX Conservatory activities and displays with Alice and her magical friends from Wonderland. The ENMAX Conservatory will be divided into three sections highlighting Santa in the Queen’s court, the Mad Hatter’s tea party in the butterfly garden, and down the rabbit hole in the Garden of Life. Also Including the Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter and of course the White Rabbit. (presented by jssbarristers)

Calgary Zoo


Calgary Zoo Lights Alice in Wonderland
Calgary Zoo Lights 2017

2016 Calgary Zoo Lights Description

The wonderful world of Dr. Seuss has come alive in the ENMAX Conservatory thanks to the efforts of our Horticulture team. The display has incorporated the zoo’s commitment to sustainability, and the team has been recycling and re-using products to create the amazing Zooville setting. (presented by jssbarristers)

Calgary Zoo


Zoo lights is absolutely one of the best annual family events in Calgary!

Zoo Lights Hours/Dates

  • Begins: November 23, 2018
  • Ends: January 5, 2019
  • Hours: Nightly from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. (closed Christmas)
Calgary Zoo Lights
Calgary Zoo Lights 2010

Zoo Lights Admission

  • Children under 3: free!
  • Children 3 – 15: $14.95
  • General admission: $19.95
  • North gate parking is $10

Click here to buy tickets online.

Calgary Zoo Lights Bear Fish
Calgary Zoo Lights 2018
Calgary Zoo Lights Dinosaur
Calgary Zoo Lights 2018
Calgary Zoo Lights Who
Calgary Zoo Lights 2016
Calgary Zoo Lights Glowing
Calgary Zoo Lights 2018
Calgary Zoo Lights Grinch
Calgary Zoo Lights 2016
Calgary Zoo Lights Tunnel of Love
Calgary Zoo Lights 2010
Calgary Zoo Lights Colours
Calgary Zoo Lights 2010

Getting to the Calgary Zoo

The best way to get to/from the Calgary Zoo is via the c-train, in my opinion. It has a station right at the zoo! Couldn’t be easier, and you’ll save on the cost of parking.If you don’t regularly take transit though, the cost of individual tickets might be more than parking. Parking is $10 at the Calgary Zoo.

If you’re driving, you’ll see Zoo signs on both the east and west lanes of Memorial drive.

Calgary Zoo Lights Dolphin Bridge
Calgary Zoo Lights 2018

Calgary Zoo Lights Santa Clause
Calgary Zoo Lights 2010

Calgary Zoo Lights Glow
Calgary Zoo Lights 2010

Calgary Zoo Lights Moose
Calgary Zoo Lights 2017

Zoo Lights Tips and Information

  • Keep in mind that this event is outdoors for the most part, so make sure you dress appropriately for the weather! And, actually, if it’s colder, there will be fewer people there.
  • Calgary Zoo Lights is completely wheelchair accessible!
  • When you buy hot chocolate, cookies or other snacks, you’re helping support the conservation programs at the Calgary Zoo (so thanks!).
  • They have those spkarly light up rad mugs for hot chocolate. Kids love them.
  • You won’t be able to access the whole zoo. For example the Canadian Wilds is not included in Calgary Zoo Lights, nor is the prehistoric park.
  • You won’t really be able to see any animals, either. Some, yes, but you should go there not expecting to see any. It’s dark and the zoo is set up very specifically to keep people in certain areas.
  • If you plan on coming to the Calgary Zoo with a service dog (Calgary Zoo Lights or not), make sure you pre-register. You won’t be allowed to just bring dogs into the Zoo. See their service animal policy here.
  • If you’re an Inspire Member, you get unlimited free access to the Calgary Zoo Lights!
  • Engage and children membership levels get one time 50% off access to Calgary Zoo Lights. Holla.
  • If you’re bringing young kids, bring a wagon in case they get whiney and tired.
  • Buying tickets online is always cheaper than at the gate! Save $3 per *ticket* from November 23rd – December 20th, and $5 per *transaction* from December 21st – January 5th 2019.
  • Firepits are scattered throughout the grounds and maintained by staff, so grab a hot chocolate and cookies and take a seat. It’s wonderful.
Calgary Zoo Lights Firepit
Calgary Zoo Lights firepit! 2018

Santa Clause is at Calgary Zoo Lights, most of the time!

Calgary Zoo Lights Santa
Calgary Zoo Lights 2018

Every year before Christmas, Santa Claus actually makes the time to hang out at the Calgary Zoo during Zoo Lights, up until December 23rd (for obvious reasons). Bring the kiddos, take your own pictures for free. Good times.

  • When: November 23rd – December 23rd, every single night!
  • Time: 6 – 9PM
  • Where: Inside the Atrium of the ENMAX Conservatory

Calgary Zoo Lights: Final Thoughts

It’s something we personally look forward to every year, especially kiddo. She loves the hot chocolate and cookies especially. It also would make a good date night to bring your Tinder meet up to! Or just for anyone interested in taking photos.

Calgary Zoo Lights 2016 Zooville
Calgary Zoo Lights 2016. Zooville!
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