A Valley tradition: ZooLights presents several new experiences in 2022/23


Northeast Valley News

ZooLights features several new experiences

Jason Cousineau, Reporter

The holiday season in the desert holds one of the Valley’s annual traditions—ZooLights, and it’s in full swing for the busy end of the year celebration.

ZooLights, located at the Phoenix Zoo in Tempe has at least three new ZooLights experiences, light displays, lanterns and presentations across the grounds for the holiday festivities.

People took quick notice of all of the new decor.

“Instantly you see a couple of the new big lanterns and the lights are always bright and inviting,” said Apache Junction resident Clarissa Scott. “I love that the Zoo changes it up and doesn’t just overuse the same lights every year.”

There are also quite a few new interactive exhibits this season.

One feature—the Dinosaurs in the Desert exhibit—appears to be a big hit for kids and adults.

Replicas of some of the more interesting (and not as talked about) dinosaurs and creatures are highlighted.

The prehistoric reproductions make sounds and follow attendees with their eyes to add an authentic impact.

“It was so cool to see all of the dinosaurs and see how big they are,” said Paradise Valley resident Jordyn Downing. “My favorite was the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the big bear they had.”

Not only do they showcase some of the magnificent primitive beasts but there are activities throughout the Dinosaurs in the Desert experience, which includes “channeling” one’s inner palenotologist—while digging for fossils.

ZooLights has plenty to offer the palate too.

There’s lots of food to enjoy, and hot chocolate for the kids— or the “enhanced” hot cocoa for adults.

The lighted Christmas tree on the lake showcases some of the animals behind festive holiday music.

“I like how they added the animals in the light show, I got to see the cool animals that weren’t out like the jellyfish and all of the monkeys,” Downing said.

There’s an animal holiday safari that showcases different animals that represent seasons and months of the year and lesser known animals found around the world are introduced as well.

The Angle family of Scottsdale spoke to Northeast Valley News about the tradition they have held each year by visiting ZooLights.

“Every year me, my mom, and my daughter come to check out the animals and all of the lights,” said Ms. Angle. “It’s a relaxing way to enjoy family time and the nice weather.”

ZooLights has become an annual tradition and a Valley “to do” during the holiday season.