ZOO LIGHTS: An All Age Holiday Tradition

The Hattiesburg Zoo welcomes the Christmas Season with its annual Zoo Lights and Holiday Market from 6–8 p.m. Dec. 15, 16, 17, 21, 22 and 23.

A favorite Christmas tradition for many, the annual Zoo Lights will provide holiday fun for the whole family. Themed activities include unlimited excursions on the Polar Express (train) to see the lights, unlimited rides on the holiday-adorned carousel, a celebration of Feliz Navidad at Camp Capybara, shopping at the Holiday Market, letters to Santa, storytime with Mrs. Claus, animal encounters throughout the night, and many other adventures ending with a chance to make and take home a bag of reindeer food to lure the big guy in.

To get all guests in the holiday spirit, each will receive a complimentary cup of hot cocoa and a holiday cookie. Adults over 21 may choose a warm cup of mulled wine instead of cocoa, if they wish.

Of course, no holiday event would be complete without a special appearance from the big guy in the red suit and Zoo Lights is no exception. Parents will have the opportunity to take pictures of their children with Santa Claus every night at Zoo Lights.

 “We are delighted to bring back Zoo Lights and the Holiday Market again this year,” Emily Hall, marketing manager for the Hattiesburg Zoo, said.

The Zoo will be transformed into a magical wonderland that will truly illuminate your holiday season.

The Holiday Market will feature a range of local vendors offering a selection of handcrafted and Mississippi-made gifts for purchase.

The Holiday Market is the perfect place to pick up last-minute gifts or to find a great present for those hard to buy for friends, according to Hall.

“Vendors will be selling children’s books and character merchandise, hand-painted glassware, jewelry, games and blankets,” said Jennifer Clark of Emerge Events, who is producing the Holiday Market.

Special treats are planned for certain nights of Zoo Lights, including Tuba Christmas, which features local musicians playing holiday favorites. Carolers will greet the guests and all are encouraged to join in. 

Back by popular demand, guests can stop by the Festivus location to take a family selfie at the aluminum pole, air grievances or just perform feats of strength for a more eccentric holiday experience.

 “Zoo Lights is a special time at the Zoo and­ this year is no exception,” said Rick Taylor, executive director of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission, said. “With a wide range of activities and experiences, we invite family and friends to join us this season for Hattiesburg’s holiday tradition.” 

Individual tickets are $10. Special group rates and family packs are available. Children under 2 are free. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate the day of the event.

For additional information, call the Hattiesburg Zoo at 601.545.4576 or visit the Zoo online at HattiesburgZoo.com or on Facebook.

The Hattiesburg Zoo is a Hattiesburg Convention Commission Facility, in partnership with the City of Hattiesburg. Since 1991, the Hattiesburg Convention Commission has been developing and operating attractions for the Hattiesburg area.