Zoos are already entertaining and magical places to visit. Come the holidays, however, the darkness turns to light with the beautiful zoo lights holiday celebrations. Other festivals and events include special zoo feeds with Christmas gifts and foods that humans can relate to. If you can go, you're attendance helps support zoos.
ALPINE: Alpine: Lions Tigers and Bears Holiday Christmas Open House
Holiday Fundraiser December
14, 2019, 12-4 p.m.
Lions Tigers & Bears
24402 Martin Way
Alpine, California 91901
$50, $150 VIP, lionstigersandbears.org
Watch the animals open their Christmas presents, and enjoy an afternoon at the sanctuary celebrating the holiday season. Food trucks, festive music, an opportunity drawing and an appearance by Santa Claus wrap up a perfect day at this Christmas Fundraiser for the animals.
ATASCADERO: Atascadero Charles Paddock Zoo Holiday Magic December
21, 2019, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. The Zoo is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
9100 Morro Road
Atascadero, CA 93422
$10, $8 ages 5-12 years, $5 ages 3-4 years, charlespaddockzoo.org
Santa is visiting the animals at the Charles Paddock Zoo a little early to deliver special gifts to our animal friends. Join in the fun. Enjoy a visit with Santa and start your holiday off with tons of animal fun! Check the front entrance for schedules so you don't miss out!
BAKERSFIELD: Bakersfield CALM Holiday Lights November 30, 2019-January 4, 2020. Nightly 5:30-9 p.m.
FRESNO: Fresno Chaffee Zoo Lights November 29-December 30, 2019
FOLSOM: Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary Wild Nights, Holiday Lights December 6-30, 2019
LA JOLLA: Birch Aquarium Seas 'n' Greetings December 1-24, 2019
and December 26-31, 2019 (closed Dec.25)
2300 Expedition Way
La Jolla, CA 92037
Seas 'n' Greetings Celebrate the Holiday SEAson! From December 1 to 31, Birch Aquarium is transformed into a holiday wonderland full of SEAsonal activities for the whole family. Deck the Hall (of Fishes) and get into the holiday spirit every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and check the schedule for special appearances by Scuba Santa, crafts, activities, as well as live holiday music on weekends. All holiday activities are included with admission
LODI: Micke Grove Zoo Lights December 6-7, 13-14 & 20-21, 2019,
Micke Grove Zoo
11793 N Micke Grove Road
Lodi, CA 95240-9499
$20 per vehicle, mgzoo.com
Games, crafts, activities, free pictures with Santa
LONG BEACH: Aquarium Holidays December 7-23, 2019
100 Aquarium Way
Long Beach, CA
Get into the holiday spirit with the Aquarium Holidays celebration The halls are decked, the animals are feeling jolly, and there is lots of holiday fun for you to enjoy. Tree Lighting Ceremony, December 1 at 10 a.m. Kick off the holiday season at the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony! Count down with Sarah Seastar, Santa Diver, and your Aquarium character friends to see the magical lighting of the Aquarium's Christmas tree. Events include Daily Penguin Parades at 10 a.m., snowfall in the Great Hall, Santa Diver and the Aquarium characters in their holiday outfits, gingerbread houses, a special holiday menu in Cafe Scuba, and holiday shopping in the Aquarium gift stores. On weekends there's a snow play area, Santa and Hanukkah storytelling with opportunities to play dreidel. Holiday Treats for the Animals Festival, December 7-8 Delight in watching Santa Diver delivering an ocean of gifts to your favorite animals, including penguins, sea otters, seals, sea lions, lorikeets, and fish. Holiday Ugly Sweater Weekend, December 21-22 Wear an ugly holiday sweater to the Aquarium to receive $5 off your admission ticket (upon request only). Spark of Love Toy Drive, December 7-23 Get in the true spirit of the holiday season and bring in a toy to support the Long Beach Fire Department Spark of Love Toy Drive. Aquarium guests who donate a new, unwrapped toy – at a $15 value or more – will receive a coupon valid for $10 off an adult admission ticket and $3 off a child admission ticket (limit of 4 admission tickets). Aquarium members will receive a complimentary admission ticket for each toy donated (limit of 6 admission tickets per membership).
LOS ANGELES: Los Angeles LA Zoo Christmas Celebration November 15, 2019 - January 5, 2020, 6-10 p.m.
MERCED: Lights Before Christmas December 13-14, 2019, 5:30-8 p.m.
Applegate Zoo Park
1045 W. 25th Street
It's a night full of lights, animals, snow play, craft vendors and photos with Santa.
OAKLAND: Oakland ZooLights Holiday Lights Attraction December 6, 2019-January 5, 2020
SACRAMENTO: Sacramento Zoo Holiday Magic December 14, 2019
SAN DIEGO: Jungle Bells
SeaWorld San Diego
November 23, 2019-January 5, 2020
500 Sea World Drive
San Diego, CA 92109
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Dolphin Island Christmas, Clyde & Seamore Christmas Special, more!
SAN FRANCISCO: San Francisco Zoo Lights
SAN JOSE: Happy Hollow Zoo
Happy Hollow Park & Zoo/Business Office Building/1300 Senter Rd, San Jose CA 95112
SAN MATEO: IlluminOdyssey at
CuriOdyssey - A Dazzling Winter Light Experience for Kids
November 9, 2019-January 5, 2020
San Mateo CuriOdyssey
1651 Coyote Point Drive
San Mateo, CA 94401
Open Until 8pm on 12/6 and 1/3
Electrify your child's imagination with a dazzling winter light experience featuring four levels of walls, floors and ceilings alive with radiant, moving color. Carry a colorful lantern as you venture through a gleaming jungle of soft sculptures and an illuminated canopy of fiber optic strands. Create a refractive rainbow at the tip of a wand, touch a plasma ball to create electric tendrils, use a drawing robot to design a phosphorescent image, dance on swirling patterns of colors, watch a glowing blossom change its appearance and go inside a village of geometric shelters awash in laser lights.
SAN PEDRO: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium Holiday Open House and Gift Market
December 1, 2019, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
3720 Stephen M. White Drive
San Pedro, CA 90731
Don't miss this exciting holiday shopping extravaganza! This holiday season, give a gift with meaning.
SANTA ANA: Santa Ana Zoo Snow Days with Critters December 14-15,
2019, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. both days
1801 E. Chestnut Ave.
Santa Ana, CA 92701
All Zoo celebration featuring stations focusing on winter and snow. Watch animals receive icy treats, listen to festive music, enjoy the winter decorations, play educational games, create cool crafts and listen to delightful winter stories. Also shop for the holiday season with an extra discount during the "White Elephant Sale" at the Treetop Toys Gift Ship both days.
SANTA BARBARA: Snow Leopard Festival December 8, 2019, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Open December 24, 2019, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Santa Barbara Zoo
500 Ninos Drive
Santa Barbara, CA 93103
$18 admission | zoos
Sledding in real snow at this event! Beautiful and elusive, snow leopards are highly endangered and the subject of celebration at this Zoo event. Kids sled down the Zoo's mini-Himalayan mountains and play in the snow area. There are also snow leopard arts and crafts, and photos with Santa. Cost: festival is free with Zoo admission; $3 extra charge for snow area access.
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Vallejo
Holidays in the Park November 29, 2019-January 5, 2020
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
1001 Fairgrounds Dr.
Vallejo, CA 94589
Christmas is mostly celebrated in the theme park with rides, food, and attractions, but there aquarium / zoo does have some holiday themed events, too.
Events are not guaranteed. It is your responsibility to confirm before going.