What’s new at zoos during the holidays

One of our favorite ways to spend the holidays is visiting the zoo. Not only can we sneak a peek at our animal pals, but there’s nothing like walking among twinkling lights and enjoying time with friends, family and even Santa! Here are a few new things to expect this year.

Brookfield Zoo Holiday Magic

When: Dec.3-4, Dec. 10-11, and Dec.17-18 (Saturdays and Sundays) and Dec.26-31 (Monday through Saturday)

Hours: 4-9 p.m.

Admission: Adults are $17.85, children ages 3-11 and senior citizens (65 and over) are $12.50. Children 2 and under are free.

The fun: More than one million twinkling lights will be lit at Brookfield’s Zoo’s Holiday Magic, Chicagoland’s longest running lights festival. You’ll find professional ice carving demonstrations, light shows, magic shows, a model railroad display and, of course, special visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

What’s new: A new Polar Lights will make its debut in the West Mall with lights reflecting off mirrored balls as they shine into the sky while “dancing” trees will be set to holiday-themed tunes at the Roosevelt Fountain. Guests can also view the more than 500 lit trees decorated by local community organizations and corporations that line the walkways throughout the park.

Lincoln Park Zoo ZooLights

When: Nov. 25–27, Dec. 2–4, 9–23, 26–31; Jan. 1, 2017

Hours: 4:30-9 p.m.

Admission: Free

The fun: With more than two million lights, the Lincoln Park Zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland this season. Expect to find Santa, ice sculptors, holiday crafts and activities, and sweet treats of all kinds.

What’s new: Due to popular demand, the zoo now offers extended hours. The zoo will offer families a chance to browse vendors’ goodies for the perfect present at their Holiday Market on Nov. 29.  Another newbie for the zoo includes a concert by the Chris White Trio Tribute to “Vince Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown Christmas” on Dec. 15 at Café Brauer. Tickets start at $20. Check their website for more info.

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