The Santa Barbara Zoo is staying open after dark through the holidays to showcase its newest exhibit of whimsical light-up animals.
The “ZooLights” exhibit features more than 1,000 handcrafted, silk-covered animal lanterns made up of more than 50,000 LED bulbs.
The display opened Thursday and will run through Jan. 15. The hours are 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.
The exhibit has been something the zoo has wanted to do for years, but this year is the first time it is happening, according to spokeswoman Jennifer Zacharias.
Construction of the exhibit had been underway for about a month, featuring silk animal sculptures that match the real animals at the zoo. It partnered with Tianyu Arts & Culture to create look-alikes of all the animals.
The zoo’s newest exhibit, Australian Walkabout, features light-up kangaroos and emus that line the enclosures.
The exhibit also has an interactive portion, including a kaleidoscope where guests can walk in to see lighted swings and seats, a cannon that puffs out air when activated, and several photo opportunities. Guests can also take photos with Santa during a few upcoming dates.
“I wasn’t expecting the scale that it’s been,” said David Buell, who attended the exhibit preview with his family. Buell and his family have been members with the zoo for about 15 years.
Tickets can be purchased at the Santa Barbara Zoo’s website. For nonmembers of the zoo, ZooLights tickets are $22 for adults and $20 for children. For members of the zoo, tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for children.
�� ZooLights is HERE! ��
The highly anticipated lights festival kicks off tonight! Don’t miss this celebration of light and the natural world taking place November 3 – January 15 from 4:30 – 8:30 PM! ������������
— Santa Barbara Zoo (@SantaBarbaraZoo), Nov. 3