It's the most wonderful time of the zoo! It's time for ZooLights, the Smithsonian National Zoo's famous tradition of lights, music -- and, of course -- animals.
ZooLights opened Nov. 25 and runs through Jan. 1 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., except for Dec. 24 and 25. Admission is free.
During ZooLights, powered by Pepco, more than 500,000 environmentally friendly LED lights transform the zoo into a winter wonderland after dark.
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Among the new features this year are the "Tunnel of Love" light display and a 3D flock of flamingos. Visitors are encouraged to take pictures at these displays as well as all of the other fun festivities, and share them on social media tagging @FONZNationalZoo, @NBCWashington and #DCZooLights.
Guests 21 and over can enjoy BrewLights on Dec. 1, a ticketed microbrew and craft beer event. Tickets can be purchased online and at the gate for beer samples and savory food samples from top local restaurants.
On Date Night, Dec. 8, couples can enjoy champagne and sweet treats at an exclusive ticketed event. Couples can watch holiday carolers at the Great Meadow -- and the event will feature a date night giveaway.
A special Military Night will be held Dec. 2. Guests who show a valid military ID will receive 10 percent off all gift shop items. Military families will also receive $5 off parking, plus a complimentary pass for carousel, tubing, or a train ride.
And Friends of the National Zoo members enjoy a full week of exclusive perks at ZooLights from Dec. 3 through Dec. 10.
Proceeds support the National Zoo and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, including species preservation and animal care.
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