• Christmas In The Wild celebrates the season with more lights and jolly surprises

    By: Shelley Caran

    Updated:

    TAMPA, Fla. - It’s the most wonderful time of the year…as ZooTampa at Lowry Park transforms into a world of holiday cheer for Christmas in the Wild! The event celebrates its fourth year as one of Tampa Bay’s most beloved holiday traditions. The festivities kick-off on “Black Friday” on November 23 and continue for 18 delightful nights. Families will experience a merry and memorable evening and immerse themselves in the spirit of the season. From the stunning sights of thousands of twinkling lights, delectable seasonal holiday treats and refreshments, to the wonder and enchantment of wildlife at night - Christmas in the Wild will offer guests of all ages a whimsical holiday experience.

    Family favorites return including festive entertainment with carolers dressed in Dickens era costumes performing traditional classics as well as contemporary favorites, and holiday story time with Mrs. Claus. Guests will be mesmerized by a 50-foot animated Christmas tree complete with 12,000 dancing lights, 2,000 ornaments and an 8-ft star!

    Wildlife will also get into the holiday spirit with special themed activities including Presents for Primates and Ornaments & Elephants. Guests will have the opportunity to have a close look at African penguins and may catch a glimpse of some adorable Zoo babies. The popular “A Present for Hazel” a holiday themed animal show returns, featuring our famous animal ambassadors.

    Jolly St. Nick and his playful elves will return to Santa’s Village. Parents will have the opportunity to make reservations to ensure they don’t miss the “big guy in red” before he returns to the North Pole. Visiting Santa in his workshop is included with the event. Other holiday themed areas include Holiday Hoedown, Polar Paradise and Candy Cane Lane!

    The scents and tastes of holiday treats and refreshments will emanate throughout the Zoo. The Zoo’s Head Chef, Itza Henderson, has once again created an innovative menu to satisfy every foodie’s palate. An array of Instagram-worthy items are available including a Sugarplum Fairy Float and mini apple cider donuts. Savory dishes include Slow smoked ribs with a cranberry BBQ glaze, a Grinch Dog, an amazing holiday burger and much more. For those craving something sweet, there’s a variety of decadent desserts to indulge in from a selection of gourmet hot chocolates, peppermint mousse and deconstructed apple pie. Adults can add some spice to the evening with a peppermint martini float or hot toddies. 

    Christmas in the Wild takes place on select nights in November 23-24 and 30, December 1, 7-8, 14-16, 20-23 and 26-30. A variety of admission values are available online or at the Zoo’s front gate:

    • Pay for a day - and visit the rest of this year FREE 
    • Zoo Memberships allow unlimited admission for a full year and include special guest privileges
    • A special “After 4 pm” ticket on event evenings is also available for $24.95 (ages 3 and up).

    ‘Tis the season for giving, guests can finish their holiday shopping with unique gifts that support the Zoo’s mission of conservation. Guests can avoid the mall frenzy with the ultimate present that keeps on giving joy throughout the year – a Zoo membership. Other special gift ideas include animal encounters and animal adoptions.

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