The annual ZooLights holiday display kicks off Thanksgiving at Phoenix Zoo with more lights and an all-new slide attraction.
The month-and-a-half long event opens at 6 p.m. with 600 lighted displays made up of 3.5 million lights. Visitors can take in the sights on foot or by horse-drawn wagon, sipping hot cocoa and listening to holiday music amplified throughout the park.
New this year is the Polar Slide, an attraction with two 200-foot-long tracks that simulate a tube ride in the snow.
The slides use Neveplast snow technology to create “the closest thing you’ll find to snow in the Valley,” according to zoo spokeswoman Linda Hardwick. She says professional athletes who specialize in winter sports train on Neveplast, and the Phoenix Zoo is the only zoo in the world to offer the technology to guests.
Also debuting are 100 new lighted displays, including a running cheetah and a lighted sphere that floats on the zoo’s lake.
Hardwick says a ZooLights team plans and designs the exhibition throughout the year and begins setting up lights in July.
“It’s very intense,” says Hardwick, “but the zoo looks absolutely amazing and beautiful. It’s just breathtaking.”
Last year, 250,000 people visited the display. ZooLights began in 1992.
Tickets for ZooLights can be purchased online, at the zoo gate or by telephone.