Tree lighting kicks off Zoo’s Lights Before Christmas Nov. 19

Press Staff Writer

        For 36 years, the Toledo Zoo Lights Before Christmas presented by KeyBank has been a cherished holiday tradition for families in Northwest Ohio and beyond.
        This year’s display will kick off with a tree-lighting ceremony on Friday, Nov. 19 at approximately 6 p.m. The ceremony will be be broadcast live on WTOL 11. All are welcome to join in at the countdown of the lighting of the award-winning “Big Tree” – an 85-foot Norway spruce and its brand-new state-of-the-art lighting package.
        The tree-lighting ceremony is the kickoff of the six-week long event which features over one million lights, 200+ illuminated animal images, an ice slide, and photo ops with Santa at North Star Trading Post gift shop. There will also be various holiday concessions, including the return of the Yuletide Food & Spirits tent, located on the historic side of the Zoo, featuring freshly prepared seasonal sandwiches, soups, appetizers, desserts as well as holiday cocktails and seasonal beers.
        “Every year, we work to create an even more spectacular and magical light show for visitors to enjoy,” said Shayla Moriarty, chief of staff and senior vice president of the Toledo Zoo. “We look forward to helping make this holiday season both merry and bright with this Toledo tradition.”
        Lights Before Christmas will be open Nov. 19-Dec. 31 including Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
        Admission gates for Lights Before Christmas are open 3-8 p.m. with the Zoo closing at 9 p.m. daily. Reservations are required for members and non-members and are released one week at a time. Tickets may be purchased at
        Special events planned in conjunction with Lights Before Christmas include:
        • Nov. 18 – Brewdolph Bash (21 and older event),
        • Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 – Ice carvings at Lights. Watch ice masterpieces take shape in the Zoo’s Main Plaza at 6 p.m. on Thursdays in December.
        • Dec. 12 – Polar Paws & Santa Claws 5K Run/Walk, presented by Buckeye Broadband.
        Cast a vote
        Once again, Lights Before Christmas has been nominated for USA Today’s 10Best Zoo Lights. In 2020, the Toledo Zoo earned second-place honors in the contest.
        “It is an honor to be nominated yet again for the 10Best Lights,” Moriarty said. “We urge the community to vote for us – it would be a great source of Toledo pride to be voted first this year.”
        To vote for the Toledo Zoo Lights Before Christmas presented by KeyBank as the number-one Light Show, visit


The Press

The Press
1550 Woodville Road
Millbury, OH 43447

(419) 836-2221

Email Us

Facebook Twitter

Ohio News Media Association