Christmas at the Zoo sparkles for families


There are several fun spots for selfies and photo ops throughout the Zoo.

By Cody Mattox

Indianapolis Zoo


Christmas at the Zoo, presented by CareSource, has been a beloved tradition for families in Central Indiana for 54 years. The festivities continue daily through Dec. 30, closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.


Santa’s Village will continue to be a huge hit this year. As visitors walk under the archway into the Bicentennial Pavilion, the experience is like stepping inside a glittering snow globe. Among the highlights in this whimsical village, guests can see penguins and reindeer, meet Santa in his Study and Mrs. Claus in her kitchen. For the first time, Mrs. Claus comes back after Christmas this year to spend time with children and families.


Get your camera ready for a walk through the stunning Polar Pathway, one of the city’s best and brightest selfie spots during the holidays. Enjoy the interactive light show at Santa’s Favorite Tree presented by Twinkly, which is now in the Plains area. See our new Merry and Bright Christmas tree in front of the Simon SkjodtInternational Orangutan Center. Meet new characters like Sprinkles and Holly and enjoy their nightly storytelling.


Vacation Santa goes to the tropics to greet a flamingo.

After dark, the Zoo is covered in the warm glow of twinkling lights — there’s too many to count! We’ve added several new displays this year, including several fantasy forests with towering trees beaming with light. In Flights of Fancy, families can beat the wintertime blues and escape to the tropics for a visit with Vacation Santa. With the help of his flamingo flock and some holiday magic, the Jolly Old Elf will seem to be in two places at onceto greet even more children this year!


Many Zoo animals enjoy the colder temps. During a wintertime visit, guests can see new Arctic foxes, plus tigers, brown bears, sea lions, walrus and many others. Often, they are more active at this time of year.


We have plenty of indoor exhibits where guests can stay warm all winter long, like Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, Oceans Building, Deserts Dome and Dolphin Pavilion.


The Zoo opens at noon and we encourage guests to come early to find great parking, visit with animals and then watch the transformation at sunset.


Christmas at the Zoo is included with general admission and it’s free for members. The Zoo is located at 1200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis 46222.