The Santa Barbara Zoo has decked the halls and is ready to start the holiday season with Holiday Zoo, a festive outdoor celebration designed to make spirits bright, Dec. 1-31.

Visitors can experience the zoo transformed into a winter wonderland while visiting the animals. Santa also returns, making weekend appearances only, starting Friday, Nov. 26. Photos with Santa are available for purchase; check the zoo’s calendar for specific dates.

Guests are encouraged to wear their favorite holiday garb, ugly Christmas sweater, or dress up in a frosty costume. Seasonal treats and adult holiday spirits are also available for purchase.

Holiday Zoo is free with zoo admission or zoo membership; online reservations are required. To make reservations for Holiday Zoo, click here.

For those looking for wild gift ideas for friends and family this holiday season, check out the Zoo’s Holiday Gift Guide with suggestions from animal encounters to gifting memberships. All purchases and donations support the Santa Barbara Zoo. For more information, email