Featured Destination

The Holidays are a Zoo in Michigan

Despite what you may think, Michigan’s most noted zoos do not close for the winter season. In fact, you and your family can experience a whole new side of these attractions during the “off season”.

Binder Park Zoo, Battle Creek

The zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland with brilliant light displays, festive décor and plenty of “oohs and aahs” during the annual ZooLights. Celebrate the season with the whole family and plan a merry visit to the zoo to see winter hardy animals on exhibit, ride the carousel and enjoy special featured events each evening! ZooLights is 4 weekends, Friday – Sunday, from November 30 through December 23 (5-8pm each night). For some added fun, sign up for the family-friendly “Cocoa and Canvas” on December 9 or 16 (2:30-4:30pm). Sip some hot cocoa, nibble on cookies while the zoo’s artists assist you in painting the Holiday Obsessed Giraffe. And don’t forget…Dinner with Santa! One of the most memorable experiences at ZooLights, it is a traditional family-style meal with the jolly old elf himself on Saturday, December 1, 8 and 15 (5-7pm) at the Conservation Hall of the Binda Conservation Discovery Center. Reservations are required for “Cocoa and Canvas” and “Dinner with Santa.” https://binderparkzoo.org/events/zoo-lights/

Detroit Zoo, Detroit

For 24 nights, more than five million LED lights will illuminate trees, buildings and more than 230 animal sculptures throughout the front half of the Zoo during the annual “Wild Lights” display. Experience the magic of the Detroit Zoo in winter as you take in the lights and the sights and enjoy holiday entertainment and special activities for guests of all ages. The pathway allows you to see the Edward Mardigian Sr. River Otter Habitat, the Jane and Frank Warchol Beaver Habitat, and the Holden Reptile Conservation Center. All other animal habitats and buildings will be closed for the season. The Polar Express Package includes one timed and dated ticket to Wild Lights and one untimed ticket to the Polar Express 4D Experience. Wild Lights nights: November 17-18, 23-25, 30 and December 1-2, 7-9, 14-16, 20-23, 26-31. Wild Lights times: 5:30 to 9 p.m. select weeknights and Sundays and 5:30 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. https://detroitzoo.org/events/zoo-events/wild-lights/

John Ball Zoo, Grand Rapids

Experience Christmas for the Animals on Saturday, December 1 (10am-3pm). Featuring ice carving, holiday crafts, animal enrichment demonstrations and of course, Santa and his reindeer. https://www.jbzoo.org/event/christmasfortheanimals

Potter Park Zoo, Lansing

Thousands of lights create extraordinary animal exhibits and holiday displays at the 23rd annual Wonderland of Lights. There will be cookies, crafts and animal encounters for the kids to enjoy. Plus, the gift shop will be open Thursdays & Fridays (Noon-8pm) and Saturdays & Sundays (10am-8pm) for your holiday shopping. The restaurant will be open on Friday & Saturday nights from 5-8pm, with a limited menu. And, of course Santa will be at the Zoo to visit with children on Fridays & Saturdays, through Dec. 23. Wonderland of Lights is open on Thursdays through Sundays 5pm to 8pm only from November 17 through December 31 (as well as December 19-20 and 26-27). https://potterparkzoo.org/event/wonderland-of-lights/