L.A. ZOO LIGHTS Opening Night Lights Up a Dazzling Wonderland


November 25, 2015


Friday, November 27, 2015
Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

With the flick of a switch that illuminates a dazzling wonderland, L.A. ZOO LIGHTS returns bigger, better and even more spectacular as it heralds a new standard for nighttime magic at the Los Angeles Zoo from Friday, November 27, 2015, through Sunday, January 3, 2016. On hand for Opening Night are actress Carolyn Hennessy; Los Angeles City Council Member (District 4) David Ryu; Los Angeles Zoo Director John Lewis; Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association President Connie Morgan; Andrii Bondarenko, the aviator, a dramatic hand balancing performer from Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities; and choirs from Verdugo Hills High School. The choirs are Verdugo Voices Choral Union featuring Makeshift Harmonies and Harmonic Possession (a Cappella choirs), Fiesta Forte Show Choir and Java Jive Jazz Choir. Representing the high school are Dr. Edward A. Trimis, Principal, and Daniel Lopez, Music Teacher/Choral.

An instant hit when it debuted last year, attracting more than 170,000 people, L.A. Zoo Lights has been nominated in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice travel awards as a contender for “Best Zoo Lights 2015.”

With awe-inspiring features providing a brand-new spin on holiday lights in Griffith Park, L.A. ZOO LIGHTS sets the Zoo’s enchanting environment aglow with breathtaking displays unlike anything seen in L.A. before, among them thousands upon thousands of LED lights, flurries of illuminated snowflakes, stunning 3-D animated projections, a musical light-and-water show and glittering light tunnels. A fanciful menagerie of animal characters brought to “life” include mischievous animated monkeys scampering through the grounds, a gigantic glowing snake coiled on a roof, a hillside with snowboarding iguanas, 3-D animated elephants wearing colorful holiday sweaters, an origami-type rhino lit from within and so much more. L.A. ZOO LIGHTS is open every night, except Christmas Eve (December 24) and Christmas Day (December 25), from 6 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and 6 to 11 p.m. Fridays through Sundays and December 21 through 23.

L.A. ZOO LIGHTS is sure to top the “holiday tradition” destination list once more, with a trove of new lights and displays for an even brighter atmosphere of wonder and delight. Captivating guests for an ideal family outing, meet-up with friends or date night, L.A. ZOO LIGHTS’ self-guided 60- to 90-minute walking tour through select areas of the Zoo – while most L.A. Zoo animal residents are asleep — offers a unique visitor experience that features the only opportunity in Los Angeles to see real reindeer; visits with Santa Claus on select dates; and steaming hot chocolate, irresistible churros and other holiday treats and goodies for sale. Last year, the first-ever LA ZOO LIGHTS was established by the private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) as a festive new tradition.

In addition to more lights, displays, décor, effects and a larger L.A. ZOO LIGHTS footprint in the Zoo, the event’s biggest expansion this year takes place in and around The LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles), which boasts a giant, illuminated snake gazing down from the rooftop, flicking its tongue as guests enter the building. Inside The LAIR, guests find themselves bathed in ultraviolet light with glowing webs, orbs, and “insects” of all kinds on the rock walls. At an equally stunning next stop, guests encounter a “Lightscapes: Wild Holiday” aquatic show boasting lighted fountains and shooting screens of water with majestic projections of fanciful animations set to music. In several special areas are a unique sound experience from Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS – Cabinet Of Curiosities (performing December 10-February 7 at Dodger Stadium) as well as music programmed by KCRW. The re-imagined Santa’s Village is in an all-new, glittering setting, the perfect location for magical holiday photos (available for an additional fee).

Also new this year are two “VIP Experiences,” including an exclusive HOLIDAY HAPPY HOUR for the 21-and-up crowd on December 10, and a FAMILY NEW YEAR’S EVE for all ages. HOLIDAY HAPPY HOUR, Thursday, December 10, features “skip-the-line” express entry to L.A. Zoo Lights with a private lounge from 6:30 to 8:30 pm boasting hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine and hot and cold specialty cocktails. Tickets for HOLIDAY HAPPY HOUR are $75 per person. FAMILY NEW YEAR’S EVE on Thursday, December 31, 6 pm, provides an opportunity to celebrate the coming of 2016 in style with “skip-the-line” express entry to L.A. Zoo Lights, dinner buffet, soft drinks, complimentary champagne for adults, sparkling apple cider for kids, dessert, a ride on the Zoo’s hand-crafted conservation carousel, crafts for youngsters, DJ dance party, cash bar and live broadcast of New York’s Times Square ball drop at 9 pm, after which guests are welcome to experience L.A. Zoo Lights until closing. FAMILY NEW YEAR’S EVE tickets are $65 for adults and $40 for children, or $60 (adults) and $35 (children) for GLAZA members. Tickets for both “VIP Experiences” have limited availability, so early purchase is strongly suggested.

L.A. ZOO LIGHTS has again been developed in collaboration with art director Gregg Lacy and Bionic League, entertainment-industry partners renowned for remarkable large-scale installations for festivals, stadiums, arenas, clubs, and artists like Daft Punk, Kanye West and many others.

Sponsors of L.A. ZOO LIGHTS include KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities from Cirque du Soleil, Service Systems Associates, 99 Cents Only Stores, Edison International, Paramount Pictures, ScholarShare and Stella Artiois. Donors include The Georgina Frederick Children’s Foundation, Beth and Joshua Friedman, Larry and Sue Ivanjack, Donald and Susan Rice, The Shultz Family and the Employees of the Shultz Steel Company, The Simms Family Foundation, and The Marc & Eva Stern Foundation.

The landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing 1.75 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered. Its lush grounds on 113 acres feature the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles); Elephants of Asia; Campo Gorilla Reserve; Rainforest of the Americas, an extraordinary collection of endangered and exotic mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians living in spaces that exemplify their natural habitat in the rainforest biosphere; Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel; Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains, home to one of the largest troops of chimpanzees in the United States; Red Ape Rain Forest, where visitors can walk among orangutans; the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo; one of the largest flocks of flamingos in any zoo in the world; a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants; and much more. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, the Zoo has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife. The private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), which has supported the Zoo in partnership with the City of Los Angeles for more than five decades and provides funding for and operates seven essential Zoo departments, has 60,000 member households representing more than 240,000 adults and children. As evidence of the Zoo’s popularity, GLAZA attracts one of the largest membership bases of any cultural organization in Los Angeles.

Admission to “L.A. ZOO LIGHTS” is $13 for adults/seniors and $11 for children ages 2 to 12 on Mondays through Thursdays (except on December 21, 22 and 23 when tickets are the same as weekend prices), and $16 for adults/seniors and $14 for children ages 2 to 12 tickets on Fridays through Sundays. Tickets for GLAZA members are $11 for adults/seniors and $10 for children ages 2 to 12 on Mondays through Thursdays (except on December 21, 22 and 23 when tickets are the same as weekend prices), and $14 for adults/seniors and $13 for children ages 2 to 12 on Fridays through Sundays. Children under age 2 are free. Purchase tickets online to attend during the first week (Nov 27 – Dec 3) for the online-only Early Bird Rate of $10 each. Tickets are also available for $9 after 9 p.m. on select nights. Visit LAZoolights.org for details and to purchase tickets.

The Los Angeles Zoo is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Free parking is available. For additional information, contact (323) 644-4200 or visit LAZoolights.org

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