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Christmas in the Wild at ZooTampa returns on select nights beginning November 26!

Tis the season to experience one of Tampa’s premiere outdoor holiday traditions! Christmas in the Wild, a family-favorite holiday custom, will open to the public on November 26, 2021 with one of Tampa Bay’s largest light displays, delectable holiday treats, and new festive adventures that will connect guests with wildlife and the spirit of the season for 18 select nights.

On select evenings experience the Zoo animals in an atmosphere of holiday magic and cheer, made complete with special animal mingles, magical light displays, and classic holiday music.

This year is BIGGER, better, and brighter than ever, with six new illuminated zones of lights, festive entertainment that the whole family will enjoy. Entry to this event is limited; advanced purchased tickets and reservations are strongly encouraged and the only way to guarantee admission.

Christmas in the wild at ZooTampa

What’s NEW for Christmas in the Wild at a ZooTampa 2021?

  • Lights, lights, and more lights: ZooTampa is illuminated with dazzling lights and dynamic holiday displays.
  • The Forest of Fantasy: Watch the Zoo transform at sunset when the warm glow of twinkling lights fills the night sky. Two brand new light shows across the entire manatee circle. Shows are every 15 minutes.
  • Picture perfect spots: Pose for Instagram-worthy photos in front of our many photo-op areas, like our Christmas trees soaring over 30-feet high with thousands of dancing lights and festive ornaments.
  • Ice Cavern: Our Africa tunnel transforms into a winter wonderland this holiday season. Have your camera ready to remember the moment you step inside the cavern surrounded by glowing lights!
  • Wallaroo Wrap Party: Dance with Santa’s elves who’ve gathered to celebrate the season after working hard making presents for everyone. While in Wallaroo, join in some reindeer games with Randolph the Reindeer.
  • Ticky Tacky Christmas: See Roaring Springs transformed into Tacky Christmas, where holiday decorations get silly.
  • Animal Giving Tree: Located next to the Binturong habitat, get into the holiday spirit and give gifts to the animals that call ZooTampa home. Scan a QR code to give the gift that keeps on giving.

Returning Favorites:

  • Candy Cane Carousel: All aboard the Candy Cane Carousel! Embark on an unforgettable ride with red and white lights sprinkled all around the carousel for a candy cane celebration.
  • Cookie Decorating with Mrs. Claus: Every night you will be able to decorate cookies at Mrs. Claus’ shop.
  • Visit Santa at the Twinkle town marketplace: Come tell Santa what you would like for Christmas and take a photo with him.
  • Kaleidoscope Tunnel: Returns and moves to Manatee tunnel. Become immersed in the holidays under the sea as the sounds of the ocean fill the pathways.
  • Caribbean Christmas: Key West will transport you to a Caribbean Christmas with a hilarious Christmas improv show, “Hymn-Prov”
  • Felices Dias Festivos: Deck the halls with cheerful Latino carolers singing your favorite Christmas carols in English and Spanish. Join in and sing along with these spectacular voices.

Essential Event Details:

  • Christmas in the Wild takes place on 18 select nights from November 26 – December 30.
  • Event nights are Nov 26-27, Dec 3-4, 10-11, 17-23 – Operating Hours: 4:00 – 10:00 p.m., and Dec 26-30 – Operating Hours: 4:00 -9:00 p.m.
  • Event capacity is limited. Date and time-specific tickets and reservations are available online.  They are strongly encouraged and the only way to guarantee admission.
  • General admission tickets are $29.95 and can be purchased in advance online at
  • There’s a $5 reservation fee for annual members and “Pay for a Day, Come Back All Year” ticket holders which will be reimbursed upon entry in the form of a $5 voucher valid for food and merchandise on the night of the reservation.

WATCH: INSIDE LOOK: Christmas in the Wild at ZooTampa

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Laura Byrne
Laura Byrne is an award-winning former television news journalist who spent 15+ years in newsrooms across the state of Florida including Sarasota, Tallahassee, Fort Myers and right here in Tampa Bay where she still freelances on occasion. She covered the political beat, crime beat and every day breaking news during her time in Florida newsrooms, but is now focused on sharing positive news stories and events with families in Tampa Bay. She is a proud mommy of two little boys who keep her on her toes and laughing every day. Her goal is to inspire families just like yours to get out and play and experience all that Tampa Bay and our great state of Florida have to offer! She encourages you to share your stories and upcoming events so we can spread the good news.

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