California Zoos


California Zoos Holiday Festivals, Lights

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 with the Animals December 11, 2021, 12-4 p.m.
Lions Tigers & Bears
24402 Martin Way
Alpine, California 91901
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 SANTA'S POP-UP REINDEER FARM December 10-12, 2021, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. & Holiday Magic December 18, 2021, 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,
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.

BAKERSFIELD: Bakersfield CALM Holiday Lights November 27, 2021-January 1, 2022

FRESNO: Fresno Chaffee Zoo Lights November 26-December 30, 2021, 5-8 p.m.

FOLSOM: Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary Wild Nights, Holiday Lights December 10-23, 2021

LA JOLLA: Seas 'n' Greetings Holiday at Birch Aquarium December 1-31, 2021. Scuba Santa, crafts, activities, holiday music and more. Deck the Hall and get into the festive spirit with photo opportunities throughout the aquarium, plus holiday music and an interactive scavenger hunt with prizes for the littlest guests. All the great holiday activities are included with admission.

LONG BEACH: Aquarium of the Pacific Aquarium Holidays December 2021
100 Aquarium Way
Long Beach, CA

  • Get into the holiday spirit with the Aquarium Holidays celebration throughout December. The halls are decked, the animals are feeling jolly, and there is lots of holiday fun for you to enjoy. Snow falls 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.
  • 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.
  • Aquarium Holidays December 4 & 11, 2021. include photos with Santa, Hanukkah storytelling with opportunities to play dreidel.
  • Holiday Treats for the Animals Festival, December 4-5, 2021  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 18-19, 2021.  Wear an ugly holiday sweater to the Aquarium to receive $7 off your admission ticket (upon request only).
  • Spark of Love Toy Drive 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 receive a coupon valid for $7 off admission.

LOS ANGELES: LA Zoo Lights 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
Merced, CA
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

SAN DIEGO: SeaWorld San Diego Christmas Celebration
November 23, 2019-January 5, 2020
Discount Tickets
500 Sea World Drive
San Diego, CA 92109
(800) 257-4268
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.

VALLEJO: 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.

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