Redesigned Winter Village debuts at Lights Before Christmas

Press Staff Writer

        Three, two, one – the 2023 Toledo Zoo Lights Before Christmas presented by KeyBank kicks off with the lighting of the Big Christmas Tree on Nov. 17.
        The six-week “electrical spectacle” features over one million lights, 200+ illuminated animal images, dancing lights sponsored by Fiber Frame, an ice slide, and photo ops with Santa in the newly redesigned Winter Village. Visitors can also enjoy seasonal treats and warm beverages available throughout the Zoo.
        Lights Before Christmas has been a cherished holiday tradition for visitors from near and far for 38 years. In 2022, the Toledo Zoo was voted second for USA TODAY 10Best Zoo Lights and this year’s edition is nominated again. The Zoo urges the community to vote at
        Visits with Santa will also be located in the Winter Village from 4-8 p.m. daily, Nov. 17- Dec. 23.
        “We are excited to unveil the revitalized Winter Village as part of the Toledo Zoo Lights Before Christmas,” said Shayla Moriarty, chief operating officer and executive vice president of the Toledo Zoo. “Our team has worked tirelessly to create the enhanced Winter Village and we hope it will become a cherished holiday tradition for years to come.”
        The 2023 Toledo Zoo Lights Before Christmas will be open through Dec. 31during the following times:
        • Monday-Thursday –3-8 p.m. Zoo closes at 9 p.m.
        • Friday-Sunday –3-9 p.m. Zoo closes at 10 p.m.
        • Thanksgiving Day –3-8 p.m. Zoo closes at 9 p.m.
        • Christmas Eve –3-9 p.m. Zoo closes at 10 p.m.
        • Christmas Day –3-8 p.m. Zoo closes at 9 p.m.
        • New Year’s Eve –10 a.m.-9 p.m. Zoo closes at 10 p.m.
        During this season the Zoo is not open during the daytime and is only open for Lights, starting at 3 p.m.
        Reservations are required for Lights Before Christmas for members and non-members. Tickets may be purchased at
        Special activities and events
        A number of special activities events are planned in conjunction with Lights Before Christmas. They include:
        • Polar Paws & Santa Claws 5K Run/Walk – Dec. 10.
        • Noon Year’s Eve – Dec. 31.
         Rides and Activities
        • Carousel – $3 per ride, Indoor African Carousel.
        • Ice Carving Demos – Thursdays in December at 6 p.m. in Main Plaza (included with Zoo admission).
        • Reindeer Encounter – Visit reindeer in the Nancy L. & Martin Davidson Barnyard (included with Zoo admission).
        • Holly Jolly Express – Holiday train ride through Africa!, Friday-Sundays, weather permitting. $3 per ride.
        • Swanton Model Train Railroad Club – Starting 5 p.m. daily in the Café. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (included with Zoo admission).
        Special ride bundles are available for a discounted rate.
        For a complete schedule and more information, visit


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