Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

November 29, 2012

Christmas returns to the zoo


— Guests are invited to surround themselves with the beauty and magic of the holiday season as the Indianapolis Zoo hosts its 44th year of Christmas.

Dating back to 1968, the Indianapolis Zoo was the first zoo in the United States to hold a holiday lights event, and since then, "Christmas at the Zoo" has come to be known for its holiday lights and displays. This year will be no exception. Presented by Donatos and Teachers Credit Union, "Christmas at the Zoo" takes place 5-9 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays now through Dec. 30, giving families from across the Midwest a chance to become part of this long-standing holiday tradition.

A visit to "Christmas at the Zoo" is unlike any other time of year, bringing together the best of the holiday season with a "wild" twist. As the sun sets, guests can enjoy the bright glow of the energy-efficient holiday LED lights sponsored by Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. The We Three Trees display presented by Indianapolis Honda Dealers, All-A-Glow Light Show, and all-new lights throughout Encounters are a must-see for visitors. Guests can also bundle up to enjoy the lights from the Holiday Train Ride presented by Marathon.

While viewing the lights, visitors can warm up with some hot cocoa and enjoy music from carolers singing by the fireside. Guests can also satisfy their sweet tooth with fudge, cinnamon rolls, caramel apples, and more at Santa's Sweet Shop. Lots of family-friendly activities await in White River Gardens, like cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus, letters to Santa, a view of Santa's Tropical Paradise in the Hilbert Conservatory, and visits and photo opportunities with Chris Cringle himself.

As with all zoo events, animals will be a main focus for Christmas at the Zoo. Reindeer will greet visitors as they enter and several of the zoo's more robust animals will be out late to enjoy the cooler weather. When visitors' cheeks start to get rosy, they can dash inside to enjoy the animals in the Dolphin Dome, Deserts, and Oceans exhibits. There will also be extra animal keeper chats and holiday-themed dolphin shows. Plus, two guests will win the chance to return for an animal encounter as those who find the hidden mistletoe can enter to win a Dolphin In-Water Adventure.

Christmas at the Zoo is included with regular zoo admission and is free for zoo members. Guests can purchase discount tickets from any Indianapolis area Donatos or Teachers Credit Union location. The zoo will also collect new hats, scarves, and gloves for the St. Mary's Children's Center, and each donated item will earn guests a coupon for $1 off zoo admission. For more information, visit the website indianapoliszoo.com.