“2018-2019 ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo” by S.M. O’Connor

The Twenty-Fourth Annual ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ returns to Lincoln Park Zoo on Friday, November 23, 2018.  [The Lincoln Park Zoo (L.P.Z.) is located in the middle of the Chicago Park District’s vast Lincoln Park on the lakeshore of Lake Michigan on the North Side of Chicago.  Lincoln Park Zoo is free and open 365 days a year.  As I wrote about earlier this year, the Lincoln Park Zoo is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.]  In addition to the light displays, guests can attend several special events throughout the season.  Only ticketholders will be able to enter Lincoln Park Zoo on four nights indicated below: Members-Only Night on November 16th, Adults Night Out: Holidaze on November 29th, BrewLights on December 6th, and Chris White Trip Tribute to A Charlie Brown Christmas on December 9th.  Breakfast with Santa at Café Brauer on December 16th is new this year.

2018-2019 ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ

ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ is enlivens the Lincoln Park Zoo with the illumination of 2,500,000 lights and hundreds of dynamic displays.  This free event transforms Lincoln Park Zoo at night into a “twinkling winter wonderland” for thirty-five nights with visits from Santa Claus, ice sculptors, Christmas carolers, festivate activities, and sweet treats.  It runs from 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  ZooLights takes place over the weekend of Friday, November 23, 2018, Saturday, November 24, 2018, and Sunday, November 25, 2018; over the weekend of Friday, November 30, 2018, Saturday, December 1, 2018, and Sunday, December 2, 2018; and then nightly from Friday, December 7, 2018 through Sunday, January 6, 2018 (the Feast of Epiphany).  This excludes the nights of Monday, December 24, 2018 (Christmas Eve) and Tuesday, December 25, 2018 (Christmas Day or the First Day of Christmas) because, naturally, the staff members want to spend that time with their families.  Illuminight Holiday Lighting is installing the Christmas lights (“holiday lights”).  ComEd and Invesco QQQ present ZooLights.  Pepsi is also a sponsor of ZooLights.

2018 ZooLights Family Nights

ZooLights Family Nights are back by popular demand on the second, third, and fifth Mondays in December: Monday, December 10, 2018; Monday, December 17, 2018; and Monday, December 31, 2018.  These events include all the regular ZooLights activities, plus free rides on the AT&T Endangered Species Carousel and Lionel Train Adventure for families with children.  Children also eat for free at Park Place Café on these nights.  Note the way this works that a child gets one free kid’s menu item when a parent (or caregiver) purchases an adult entrée or combo meal.  Lincoln Park Zoo Members at all levels can enjoy free parking on Family Nights, too.




Light Maze Presented by Invesco QQQ

With the Light Maze Presented by Invesco QQQ, guests can explore a light maze comprised of 30,000 lightbulbs at Foreman Pavilion.  This ticketed attraction returns to Lincoln Park Zoo for a second Christmas season in a row and will run every night of ZooLights.


Members-Only Night at ZooLights

The Sixth Annual Members-Only Night at ZooLights will be on Friday, November 16, 2018 from 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  This is a preview of ZooLights for Lincoln Park Zoo Members, who will enjoy complimentary rides on the AT&T Endangered Species Carousel and Lionel Train Adventure and explore the Light Maze free of charge.  At the 2017 Members-Only Night, Lincoln Park Zoo Membera also enjoyed a 20% discount at the Wild Things! Gift Shop, as well as activities the general public will be able to enjoy in subsequent days: visits with Santa Claus, ice sculptors, arts and crafts, and musical light shows.  I imagine that will be the case with the 2018 Members-Only Night, but L.P.Z. Members may want to verifiy that is the case.  To become a L.P.Z. Member or renew one’s membership, go to https://www.lpzoo.org/membership.

 “Holiday Market”

The “Holiday Market” (which, obviously, should be called the Christmas Market) will be on Giving Tuesday (Tuesday, November 27, 2018) from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.  Guests can shop for Christmas gifts with the ZoolIghts as a backdrop, browsing through items made by local artisans anf crafters.  Entry tickets are $10 ($8 for Lincoln Park Zoo Members). Babies twelve-months-old-and-younger are free.  One can purchase tickets online through this Event Brite link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/holiday-market-tickets-45391572415.  Use the hashtag #GivingTuesday on social media.

zl building_0Figure 1 Credit: Julia Fuller, Lincoln Park Zoo Caption: I believe the Second Empire-style high-rise building visible here outside Lincoln Park is The Belden-Stratford Landmark Apartment Homes at 2300 North Lincoln Park West. The 485-room Belden Hotel opened in 1923.   It is now a luxurious apartment building with restaurants, dry cleaners, and a gym on site, as well as other amenities.  Ms. Fuller took this ZooLights picture on November 28, 2017.

dragon3_0Figure 2 Credit: Julia Fuller, Lincoln Park Zoo Caption: Ms. Fuller took this ZooLights dragon picture on November 28, 2017.

20161220_JF_ZooLights-12_0_0Figure 3 Credit: Julia Fuller, Lincoln Park Zoo Caption: This particular configuration of lights resembles a covered bridge.  Ms. Fuller took this ZooLights picture on December 20, 2016.

20161220_JF_ZooLights-6_0_0Figure 4 Credit: Julia Fuller, Lincoln Park Zoo Caption: Ms. Fuller took this picture of families enjoying ZooLights displays on December 20, 2016.

20161208_JF_ZooLights_Members_Night-57_0_0Figure 5 Credit: Julia Fuller, Lincoln Park Zoo Caption:  This is an example of an ice sculpture from 2016 ZooLights Members Night.  Ms. Fuller took the picture on December 8, 2016.

20161129_JF_ZooLights-7_0_0Figure 6 Credit: Julia Fuller, Lincoln Park Zoo Caption: Ms. Fuller took this picture of zebra-shaped light displays at Lincoln Park Zoo’s ZooLights on November 29, 2016.

4th Annual Adults Night Out: Holidaze!

The Fourth Annual Adults Night Out: Holidaze is an event for adults eighteen-years-of-age or over on Thursday, November 29, 2018 from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.  The Lincoln Park Zoo will be illuminated by 2,500,000 Christmas lights (labeled “holiday lights” by the L.P.Z. on Eventbrite for, you know, all those generic holidays).  Activities will include Zoo Trivia, a Gnome Hunt, “holiday activities,” music, expert animal chats, and educational entertainment.  Food, beer, and wine will be available to purchase.  Adults ages twenty-one-and-over can avail themselves of the cash bars.  Purchase $15 tickets through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/adults-night-out-holidaze-tickets-43250167415.  Tickets are non-refundable and will not be available at the door.  Country music station US*99 (“Chicago’s Hottest Country”) is the media partner.

5th Annual BrewLights

The Auxiliary Board of Lincoln Park Zoo will host the Fifth Annual BrewLights on Thursday, December 6, 2018 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.  Guests will enjoy local craft beers, seasonal beers, and imported beers.  All proceeds go toward the Auxiliary Board’s commitment to support Lincoln Park Zoo’s The Pride of Chicago fundraising campaign.  Additional event sponsors include participating breweries.  Tickets are not yet available to purchae online at www.lpzoo.org/brewlights, despite the Lincoln Park Zoo’s plan to make them available by the end of August.  As of 3:21 p.m. on Friday, September 7, 2018, that Webpage was still dedicated to the fourth annual BrewLights, which was sponsored by Louis Glunz Beer, Inc., and was held on Thursday, December 7, 2017.  Designated driver tickets will be available (eventually).  BrewLights is exclusively for adults ages twenty-one-and-over.

Chris White Tribute to A Charlie Brown Christmas

The “Chris White Trio Tribute to A Charlie Brown Christmas” is back by popular demand.  This is a singalong jazz tribute to the classic Christmastime television special.  The event will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Café Brauer on Sunday, December 9, 2018, with ticket prices starting at $25 ($20 for Lincoln Park Zoo Members).  Chris White is a Candian jazz pianist who teaches at Lake Forest College in north suburban Lake Forest, Illinois; North Park University in the North Park neighborhood of the North Park Community Area on the North Side of Chicago; and North Central College in west suburban Naperville, Illinois.  He also performs at The Green Mill and other local venues.  For more information, check www.lpzoo.org/events.

Breakfast with Santa

For the first time this year, families can enjoy Breakfast with Santa at the Café Brauer.  Guests will dine on brunch while viewing Lincoln Park Zoo’s Nature Walk (which encircles the South Pond in Lincoln Park) with Santa Claus.  There will be four seatings, starting at 9:00 a.m.  Tickets are $45 for adults and teenagers ages fourteen-and-over, $20 for younger children, and free for infants twelve-months-old-and-younger.  All children will appreciate a complimentary cookie decoration station.

Zoo Year’s Eve

Another new event this year is Zoo Year’s Eve.  Adults – and only adults – can ring in the new year at Lincoln Park Zoo with a D.J., games, and giveaways.  Food and alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.  This event will run from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.  Early-bird tickets begin at $15.  To learn more, check www.lpzoo.org/events.

Marriage Porposals at ZooLights

The Private celebration Engagement Package includes consultation with an events manager regarding proposal and details, one bottle of champagne and choclodate-covered strawberry service for the couple, one uscher to secure space, and an illuminated walkway.  The cost is $500, but will be waived if one books the wedding reception at Café Brauer.  Call (312) 742-2400 or e-mail groupsales@lpzoo.org.

The address is 2001 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois 60614.  The phone number is (312) 742-2000.


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