One Savvy Mom ™ | NYC Area Mom Blog: ZooLights - At The Smithsonian National Zoo

ZooLights - At The Smithsonian National Zoo

We ventured down to the Washington D.C. area this past week for Thanksgiving, to spend time with my husband's family. We worked off some of those holiday calories from Thanksgiving the following day, at the Smithsonian National Zoo "ZooLights."  We had never been to the National Zoo; it was surprising to learn that admittance to the zoo is actually FREE! The only cost you'll incur is at the optional attractions and for parking [if you choose to drive.]

Some of the optional paid attractions include: the Speedwell Conservation Carousel - pictured above and "Zoo Tubing" -pictured below. The National Zoo was aglow with holiday cheer! They are currently hosting their annual festival of lights "ZooLights," through January 1st [for a full list of dates see below.]

The Speedwell Conservation Carousel
The Zoo's newest exhibit features 58 different species, all coexisting peacefully under a brightly colored, open-air pavilion. This gorgeous, custom-carved carousel features animals on exhibit at the Zoo and also some species which are the focus of Zoo scientists’ research to save them from extinction. The carousel includes beloved endangered species including giant pandas, Komodo dragons, and cheetahs, the attraction will welcome visitors of all ages to Lion/Tiger Hill with delightful animal figures and colorful scenery.

The memories created and the messages learned will work in tandem to transform how visitors—and ultimately the entire community—understand the complex challenges of conserving endangered species. The Speedwell Conservation Carousel is one of only a few solar powered Carousels currently in existence [in the world!]

The carousel opened for ZooLights in November 2012. It will run throughout the event [through January 1st.] Rides cost $3 and tickets can be purchased at the carousel and in National Zoo gift shops.

ZooLights is brighter than ever! More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland. Lit animal silhouettes, musical light displays, and a new garden scene light sculpture make for truly magical sights!

ADMISSION IS FREE!  Parking is $9 for members; $16 for non-members  5-9 P.M.
NOVEMBER 23-25, 30 DECEMBER 1-2, 7-9, 14-23, 26-30 JANUARY 1
Zoo Tubing on Lion/Tiger Hill [Pictured Above]

It doesn't have to be a white holiday season to enjoy your favorite snow games. This year Lion/Tiger Hill has been transformed into a winter wonderland complete with two 150 foot long "snow tubing" tracks. Be sure to take the plunge down this magical snowless track! [Tickets available for purchase at the stand located directly in front of Lion/Tiger Hill.]

If you live in, near or will be visiting the D.C. area, I would highly suggest a visit to the Smithsonian National Zoo with the kids, to take in the breathtaking ZooLights light displays and fun activities!

For more information visit