From twinkling holiday lights and delicious treats, to activities in Santa’s Workshop and, of course, many of your favorite furry friends — there are so many wonderful things to enjoy at Christmas at the Zoo presented by Donatos and Teachers Credit Union. 2013 marks the 45th year for this spectacular event, and it just keeps growing year after year.
With so much to see and do at this time of year at the Indianapolis Zoo, here are five tips to help you get the most out of your visit to Christmas at the Zoo!
1. Come Early and Enjoy a Full Day
Guests can enjoy Christmas at the Zoo activities from 5-9pm each night, but the Zoo actually opens at noon. So come early and have hours of holiday fun visiting with the many hardy Zoo animals that will be out enjoying the cooler winter weather. Guests who arrive early can also find the best parking spaces and pick up their free tickets to the Dolphin Adventure Show while seating is available.
2. Best Time for Bats
Many of the Zoo’s animals are out and about during Christmas at the Zoo, including tigers, walrus, polar bear, red panda and many more! But one creature you might not think of is bats! Bats are nocturnal, and our extended hours during Christmas at the Zoo gives guests a rare chance to seeing our bats while they’re awake and active. Our two bat species, African straw-colored fruit bats and island flying foxes, both come from tropical climates. So how to they stay warm during the Indiana winters? Their Forest area exhibit is climate controlled to keep them toasty when temperatures drop. Learn more amazing facts about bats.
3. Find the Mistletoe
The holidays are all about giving, and again this year, we’re giving away a Dolphin-in-Water Adventure to two lucky Christmas at the Zoo visitors! So while you’re out enjoying all the holiday lights and decorations, try to find up to 10 mistletoes hidden on Zoo grounds because that’s the key to winning! When you spot one write down the location on your entry sheet (it’s on the back of your Christmas at the Zoo map) and hand it in at the Gift Shop to register. And here’s an extra tip: You don’t need to find all 10 mistletoes need to enter.
4. Ways to Stay Warm
The weather outside might be frightful, but the camp fires are so delightful! As you’re out enjoying the holiday lights, warm up by the fires near Santa’s Sweet Shop and Westside Café. At the Westside campfire, you’ll also find our carolers, who will warm your hearts by singing your favorite holiday tunes. A Cup of Cheer is another great way to help you chase away the winter chill! Pick one up at any of our food service locations and enjoy free refills all night long on hot beverages like coffee and hot cocoa.
5. Save on Your Visit
When you’re planning a trip to Christmas at the Zoo don’t forget to pick up discount tickets (while supplies last) at participating Donatos locations and Teachers Credit Union locations. If there’s a Donatos in your neighborhood, they’ll even deliver tickets with your pizza order! You can also receive $1 off admission when you donate a new hat, scarf or gloves to the Mitten Tree that supports St. Mary’s Child Center. Plus, you can always save when you purchase advance tickets online.
We’ve made our list, and we want you to check it twice so that your Christmas at the Zoo experience is oh so nice!
Photos by Jason Wright (lights), Fred Cate (bear) and Doug McSchooler (campfire with carolers).