Brookfield Zoo Holiday Magic

A 41-foot talking tree near the north entrance greets guests to Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic. More than 1 million LED lights will illuminate the zoo from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 30 to Dec. 22, and daily, Dec. 26 to 31. For more information, visit the website at czs.org.

This festive season, continue a tradition or start a new one with family and friends at Brookfield Zoo’s 38th annual Holiday Magic.

The longest-running lights festival in the Chicago area features more than 1 million LED lights that will illuminate the zoo from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., on Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 30 to Dec. 22, and daily from Dec. 26 to 31.

Visitors can stroll through a 600-foot tunnel featuring thousands of colorful LED lights synchronized to music and an amazing light display of hexagon-shaped trees, mirror balls and “dancing” holiday trees on the west mall. There will also be a 41-foot Talking Tree and a giant 20-foot lighted orb, where guests can stand inside to take memorable photos.

Larger-than-life LED animal sculptures of a bison, bear, giraffe and reindeer adorn the north, south and east malls, and a holiday light show will be displayed on the facade of the Swamp building. Searchlights will brighten the sky around Roosevelt Fountain, which is surrounded by 60 decorated themed corporate trees. Finally, nearly 600 trees adorned with ornaments by local communities line the walkways along the zoo’s malls adding to the holiday ambience.

Other activities include professional ice carving demonstrations, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus through Sunday, Dec. 22, live musical and dance performances, and magic shows.

Visitors can rent or bring their own skates and take a spin on the Chicago Wolves Skating Rink. Making a special appearance at the rink on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., will be Skates, the Chicago Wolves mascot.

In the Hamill Family Play Zoo on Dec. 7, youngsters will have the opportunity to meet and take photos with Nature Cat, the costumed character from the popular WTTW Kids’ animated series.

On the final evening of Holiday Magic, Tuesday, Dec. 31, families can ring in 2020 at the Zoo Year’s Eve celebration featuring an early countdown at 8 p.m. Activities will include a DJ, games, party favors and prizes. An earlier countdown, at 7:30 p.m., will take place inside Hamill Family Play Zoo, where youngsters can make festive noisemakers. This kid-friendly countdown is perfect for families with children ages 6 and under.

Admission is $21.95 for adults, $15.95 for children ages 3 to 11 and seniors 65 and older. Children 2 and under are free.

For more information, visit the website at czs.org.