Christmas at the Zoo isn't just for Kids

Photo courtesy of the Indianapolis Zoo

Photo courtesy of the Indianapolis Zoo

If your first reaction when it snows is to reach for a cup of hot cocoa and hole up under the covers for a Netflix marathon, you may be missing out.

Photo courtesy of the Indianapolis Zoo

Photo courtesy of the Indianapolis Zoo

Indianapolis Zoo public relations specialist Carla Knapp said many of the Zoo’s animals that are native to colder climates--such as tigers, brown bears, polar bears, and seals--love to stay out late during the winter months, giving guests an extended opportunity to see them in action.

On Wednesdays through Sundays from 5-9 p.m. through Jan. 3, the Indianapolis Zoo will host its 47th annual Christmas at the Zoo celebration. This year’s event will feature spirited performances by traditional carolers, scrumptious seasonal treats like dipped apples, and miles of colorful light displays.

Photos courtesy of the Indianapolis Zoo

Photos courtesy of the Indianapolis Zoo

If you’re not a fan of the cold, no worries. The Zoo’s indoor exhibits offer visitors a chance to warm up while listening to special animal-themed chats. Knapp said guests can also select from a variety of hot beverages, including cider, coffee, and hot chocolate, to keep them warm as they stroll through the zoo grounds.

“One of my top tips for Christmas at the Zoo is to come early and purchase a Cup of Cheer, which includes free refills on any hot beverage all night,” she said.

In addition to the Zoo’s indoor exhibits, Knapp said neighboring Hilbert Conservatory’s 5,000-square-foot indoor tropical garden space is also a great spot to go to warm up—admission is free with your Christmas at the Zoo ticket.

Photos courtesy of the Indianapolis Zoo

Photos courtesy of the Indianapolis Zoo

Knapp said one of her tips for college students is to take advantage of the event’s gorgeous photo opportunities.

“Many of the larger light displays around the Zoo double as a photo backdrop, and we love seeing all the fun and creative selfies and group shots that our younger visitors share on social media,” she said.

And for those visiting the Zoo with their significant other, “An evening stroll through the Zoo, surrounded by the warm glow of holiday lights, can be a very romantic experience,” she said.

Knapp said guests looking for an adventure can also search for hidden mistletoe around the Zoo. Those who discover the locations of at least five can enter to win an Animal Art Adventure for themselves and up to three friends.

Photos courtesy of the Indianapolis Zoo

Photos courtesy of the Indianapolis Zoo

According to Knapp, “These special experiences take you and up to three guests behind the scenes to meet one of our animal artists that will then create a personalized painting just for you to take home. You can even choose the colors!”

Guests can purchase discount tickets to this year’s event at participating Donatos and Teachers Credit Union locations or save money by buying advance tickets through the Zoo’s website. Visitors who donate a new scarf, hat, or gloves will also receive $1 off admission at the gate. As always, Christmas at the Zoo is free for Zoo members.