The Wildlights holiday event at the Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert has been going strong for decades. Open select dates in December, Wildlights is considered one of the top 5 best zoo lights in the country by USA Today. Sure, that’s an oddly specific award to be bragging about, but it’s true.
See The Full Detailed Video Below
Wildlights At The Living Desert Visiting Information
- 47900 Portola Ave, Palm Desert, CA 92260
- Dates & Hours:
- Dates: Nov 23, 25-26. Dec 2-3, 9-10, 16-24, 26-30
- Hours: 6-9 pm
- Dates and hours of operations may change. We recommend calling them or checking their website beforehand to confirm their business hours.
- Adult: $16
- Member: $14
- Child (Age 3-12): $12
- Children under 3: FREE
- There is no additional fee when purchasing the tickets online.
- Free parking at the zoo.
- We recommend coming early to snag a close parking spot.
- Overflow parking is located on Portola Ave, Haystack Ave, and Buckboard Ave.
- See some lit up animals, tunnel of lights and synchronized light zones.
- Visit some zoo animals like giraffes and rhinos.
- A cool G-scale model trains on display.
- Photo with Santa.
- Lots of photo ops.
- Holiday carousel – $3 per ride
- Time spent:
- 2 hr 45 mins
- Check the weather before you go. The weather can be changeable; layered clothing is recommended. Recommend closed toe shoes.
- What we packed:
- Stroller, thick jackets, @Sud2go cap, water wipes, snacks, veggie, fruits, water, s’more kit, hot cocoa in a thermos, kids’ pjs, toothbrush, and floss.
- Places to eat:
- We saw snack/drink stands that had hot chocolate, drinks, cotton candy and s’mores station.
- Pet allowed:
- Stroller friendly:
- Yes, flushable toilets.
- What we observed:
- We didn’t see many food options. We recommend having dinner before the event and having some extra food at the zoo. Our kids got hungry after 2 ½ hours.
- Before we left, we changed our kids into pjs and brushed and flossed their teeth before heading home.
- *12/31/22 – We had a comment on our youtube video mentioning that the 2022 Wildlights Event didn’t have nearly the same amount of lights as the 2021 event. So please be aware that the decorations can vary wildly between years.
- Ways to save money:
- Pack a meal, bring a light toy or a new candy, hot cocoa in a thermos, and a s’mores kit to roast over the fire.
What We Said In Our Wildlights At The Living Desert Video
Our family and friends had a great time on our visit. The seasonal event provides a great mix of holiday spirit and animals that the kids love.
Wildlights decorations had us strolling past over 1 million lights as we made our way through the park, from Seeing their life-sized giraffe lanterns to walking through their Christmas music light tunnel. The living desert offered up more than enough holiday points of interest to bring Christmas to the zoo. Santa was even there photobombing everyone’s group photos at one of the rest areas, confusing all the kids that weren’t given the time to tell him their wish list.
But above all that, it’s impossible to ignore the cool factor of being in a zoo at night. Especially one where the animals are still roaming around in their enclosures. On our visit, the real star of the park was a young black Rhino named “jaali.” who looked pretty relaxed under the night sky. Just past him were the zoo’s well-known Giraffes, munching away on some greens that allowed visitors to see them up close and personal. Seeing the animals made a huge difference to the girls, and they didn’t want to leave. To our shock, we were there for almost the entire event making sure to say hi to all the furry, winged, scaly inhabitants.
Similar Options That Might Interest You
If you’re up for the drive, a day trip to enjoy Wildlights at the Living Desert Zoo could be for you! But If you think a long drive with kids is insane crazy talk, check out something closer from the links below.
Greenspot Christmas Tree Farm (Mentone, CA)
Santa Village – Lake Arrowhead, CA
Live Oak Canyon Christmas Tree Farm – Redlands, CA
LA Zoo Lights (LA, CA) (Youtube)
LightScape Holiday Event LA County (YouTube)
And come back next week for more holiday-inspired things to do around California.
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