Columbus Zoo Announces Wildlights 2019 Schedule


Columbus Zoo and Aquarium announced their schedule for popular Wildlights 2019. A holiday tradition in central Ohio for more than thirty years, the event will run from November 15, 2019 through January 5, 2020.

The Zoo shared the news on their own Facebook page on Friday. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Wildlights, efficiently powered by AEP Ohio! Central Ohio’s favorite family holiday tradition starts in just two weeks on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019 and continues through Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020. Start planning your visit,” they wrote.


A members-only kickoff occurs November 14th from 5:00pm to 9:00pm and includes a lighting ceremony at 5:45pm. The exact timing is flexible since the switch will be thrown live on WBNS-10TV. 

On the 15th, Zoo visitors who bring five non-perishable food items for the Mid-Ohio Food Bank will get into the zoo for free as part of their “Stuff the Truck” food drive. Free admittance is only on the 15th. Parking is also free on November 15th for visitors who show the parking attendant one of the items intended for donation.

Some special features during Wildlights include:

  • Sparkling Spruce
    “This Tannebaum of the 21st century presents 2 animated light shows.”
  • Holiday Rhythms Around the Watering Hole – Animated Light Shows
    “Experience a spectacular display of light set to festive songs that will bring out the holiday spirit in everyone.”
  • Rudolph and Friends
    “Your favorite holiday TV starts join the Wildlights festivities. Meet the most famous reindeer of all, Rudolph, Hermey, the lovable abominable snow monster, Bumble, and new this year – Bumble’s pal Yukon Corenlius.”

An extra fee is required for each of the following special activities: Polar Bear Express train ride, camel rides, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 4-D Theater Experience and the 1914 Mangels/Illions Carousel.

The Jingle Ball animated light display and Santa’s Holiday Home are included in the zoo entrance fee, along with viewing all the animals from Asia Quest to Shores Region to Australia and the Islands and beyond.

According to the Columbus Zoo’s website,

Wildlights activities will begin daily at 5 p.m., and the Zoo will close at 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Remember that the Zoo opens daily at 10 a.m. this winter. Between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. many of the animals are behind the scenes as the Zoo prepares for Wildlights, and as the sun goes down, it can become difficult to view them. If you are interested in seeing the animals and Wildlights, we recommend you begin your visit early in the day, and stay into the evening.”

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Beth Lear is a reporter at The Ohio Star.  Follow Beth on Twitter.  Email tips to






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