First Look: Wild Winter Lights turns Cleveland Metroparks Zoo into winter wonderland (photos)

Cleveland 3 weeks ago

Cleveland, Ohio – The most anticipated Cleveland holiday event will light up Friday.

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo will flip the switch on Wild Winter Nights at 5:30 p.m.

The light display and festival will feature more than one million lights and a dozen interactive zones, including a Snow Safari, Glacier Glade and Santa’s North Pole Lodge. It’s the Zoo’s first winter holiday event since 2004.

Wild Winter Lights, presented by NOPEC, will be open weekends from Friday, Nov. 22 to January 5, as well Thursdays beginning December 5 and on select Mondays during the holidays. Nightly hours will be 5:30 – 9:30 p.m.

“We always ask our guests what are things we can do to improve the events we have and what can we add. We heard from the comm they wanted us to bring back a holiday event,” says Kelly Manderfield, Chief Marketing Officer.

“Since we announced it, there’s been a huge buzz from the community and members.”

The event will feature 12 distinct interactive areas.

Highlights include a 16-foot-tall teddy bear and giant sugar cookies, and the A-Roar-A Borealis, Cleveland’s version of the Northern Lights. Visitors will also get a chance to participate in interactive games, catch a dynamic light show on Waterfowl Lake and meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, as well as stop for a “Mistletoe Moment.” Guests can sweeten their evening at the S’more Safari campfire, with unlimited showings of “ The Polar Express” in the 4-D Theater, carousel rides and live choral music.

Guests will be welcomed by a giant LED tree with 38 screens.

“There’s also an area with 16-feet snowmen, topped by one that talks and throws snow,” says Manderfield.

“Everything is very unique. … It’s all topped off by the light show over Waterfowl Lake. Every 15 minutes there will be a show. “

Manderfield says Wild Winter Lights should appeal to all ages.

“There’s something really special about the Zoo after dark, and with a million lights and many animals more active in the cold, this will be really special.

“The Zoo is something that becomes a family tradition when you are young. People at different ages are always looking for reasons to come back.”

For full schedule visit

Tickets are limited; purchasing in advance is recommended. The discounted cost for Zoo members is $15.50 and $18.50 for non-members, or a 4-pack for $50. Advance ticket sales end at 2 p.m. the day of the event. Limited availability tickets can be purchased same-day at the box office for $20.50 each or a 4-pack for $60. Children under 2 are free. Tickets at

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