“2019-2020 Christmastime Events at Lincoln Park Zoo,” by S.M. O’Connor

The Lincoln Park Zoo (L.P.Z.) released the schedule of events and activities for the holiday cycle from Thanksgiving through Advent, 2019-2020 Christmas Season, and New Year’s Eve, including the 25th Annual ZooLights.  The Members-Only Night will be on Friday, November 22, 2019; ZooLights will begin on Friday, November 29, 2019; the Holiday Market will be on Tuesday, December 3, 2019; Adults Night Out: Holidaze! will be on Thursday, December 5, 2019; BrewLights will be on Thursday, December 12, 2019; Christmas with Santa and the Chris White Trio Tribute to A Charlie Brown Christmas will both be on Sunday, December 15, 2019; and Zoo Year’s Eve will be on Tuesday, December 31, 2019.

The Twenty-Fifth Annual ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ returns to the L.P.Z. on Friday, November 29, 2019.  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 22nd, Adults Night Out: Holidaze! on December 5th, BrewLights on December 12th, and Chris White Trip Tribute to A Charlie Brown Christmas on December 15th.  Breakfast with Santa at Café Brauer (on December 15th) was new last year.  Ticketed events are fundraisers that help keep the zoo free.

2019-2020 ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ

ZooLights Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ enlivens the Lincoln Park Zoo grounds 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 thwenty-eight nights with visits from Santa Claus (through December 23rd), ice sculptors (on weekends), Christmas carolers (on weekdays), festive 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 29, 2019, Saturday, November 30, 2019, and Sunday, December 1, 2019; over the weekend of Friday, December 6, 2019, Saturday, December 7, 2019, and Sunday, December 8, 2019; over the weekend of Friday, December 13, 2018, Saturday, December 14, 2019, and Sunday, December 15, 2019; and then nightly from Monday, December 16, 2019 through Sunday, January 5, 2020.  This excludes the nights of Tuesday, December 24, 2018 (Christmas Eve) and Wednesday, 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.

2019 ZooLights Family Nights

ZooLights Family Nights are back by popular demand on the second, third, and fifth Mondays in December: Monday, December 9, 2019; Monday, December 16, 2019; and Monday, December 30, 2019.  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 other caregiver) purchases an adult entrée or combo meal.  Lincoln Park Zoo Members at all levels can enjoy free parking on Family Nights, too.

– TICKETED EVENTS –

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 third Christmas season in a row and will run every night of ZooLights.

7th Annual Members-Only Night at ZooLights

The Seventh Annual Members-Only Night at ZooLights will be on Friday, November 22, 2019 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.

Members also receive a 10% discount on general admission tickets to the following events: Zoo year’s Eve, Chris White Trio Tribute to A Charlie Brown Christmas, Breakfast with Santa, and “Holiday Market.”  Further, they receive 20% Adults Night Out general admission tickets.  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, December 3, 2019) from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 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 L.P.Z. Members). Babies twelve-months-old-and-younger are free with a paid adult ticket.

Click here to purchase tickets online directly from the L.P.Z. Website.  There is a $1.30 fee.  One can purchase tickets through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/holiday-market-tickets-60594014328?aff=ebdssbdestsearch. Tickets do not cover parking.  If you are unable to attend, you can give your ticket to a friend or relaitive, but no refunds will be issued.

Click here to receive a free ticket to the Holiday Market with a $65 (plus a $2.95 fee) “Animal ADOPT” directly from the L.P.Z. Website.  Click here to do so via Eventbrite.    One would also receive a plush stffed animal of the species in question, a personalized certificate, a printed animal fact sheet, a 3.5” x 5” photograph of the animal, and a magentized photo frame.  These materials would ship within seven-to-ten days of the order.

Markets will be clustered around Eadie Levy’s Landmark Café, the Main Mall, the Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House, Park Place Café, the Helen Brach Primate House, and the Regenstein Center for African Apes.  Please note that the McCormick Bird House and the Farm-int-the-Zoo will not be open.  All other oudoor areas and buildings will be open for this event.  Outside food and beverages are prohibited.  Food and beverages will be sold at Park Place Café, Eadie Levy’s Landmark Café, Safari Café, and Snack & Drink Quick Stops.  Tickets do not cover parking.  Use the hashtag #GivingTuesday on social media.

5th Annual Adults Night Out: Holidaze!

The Fifth Annual Adults Night Out: Holidaze! is an event for adults eighteen-years-of-age or over on Thursday, December 5, 2019 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, hot chocolate, cocktails, beer, and mulled wine will be available to purchase.  Adults ages twenty-one-and-over can avail themselves of the cash bars.  Purchase tickets for $15 ($12 for L.P.Z. Members) directly from the L.P.Z. Website by clicking here or through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/adults-night-out-holidaze-tickets-56049698156?aff=erellivmlt.  Tickets must be printed out.  They are non-refundable and will not be available at the door.  Tickets do not cover parking.

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.

6th Annual BrewLights

The Auxiliary Board of Lincoln Park Zoo will host the Sixth Annual BrewLights Presented by Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. on Thursday, December 12, 2019 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.  Guests will enjoy local craft beers, seasonal beers, and imported beers.  There will be opportunities with Santa at the Helen Brach Primate House, free rides on the AT&T Endagered Species Carousel, and live music.  All proceeds go toward the Auxiliary Board’s commitment to support the L.P.Z.’s The Pride of Chicago fundraising campaign.  [The Pride of Chicago fundraising campaign has raised $110,000,000 since 2012, with a goal of raising $135,000,000. The capiatl campaign is now in the final phase of renovating Kovler Lion House.]  Additional event sponsors include participating breweries.  The Partner Breweries are 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Breckinridge Brewery Fine Colorado Ales, Begyle, Delirium, Hirter, München, Maplewood, Ravinia Brewing Company, Stella Artois, Stiegl, and Wild Tonic.  Tickets are not yet available to purchase online at www.lpzoo.org/brewlights.  Designated driver tickets will be available (eventually).  BrewLights is exclusively for adults ages twenty-one-and-over.  Follow @lpzauxboard and @glunzbeers on Instagram and #BrewLightsCHI for updates.

2nd Annual Breakfast with Santa

Families can enjoy Breakfast with Santa at the Café Brauer from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 15, 2019.  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, at 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 12:00 p.m.  Tickets are $45 for adults and teenagers ages thirteen-and-over, $20 for younger children (one-to-twelve), and free for infants twelve-months-old-and-younger.  Each table accomodates ten-to-twelve people.  Each seating will be comprised of fewer than 200 people.  A party of ten people or fewer may share a table (like at a Bavarian restaurant).  All children will appreciate a complimentary cookie decoration station.  One can purchase tickets through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/breakfast-with-santa-tickets-60144707439?aff=erellivmlt.

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.  Vince Guaraldi (1928-1976) composed the soundtrack for A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) and many other “Charlie Brown” television speciels.  The event will run from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Park Zoo’s Café Brauer on Sunday, December 15, 2019.  Ticket prices start at $25 (10% off for L.P.Z. Members).  There is a $40 V.I.P. Upgrade option that includes a complimentary drink and reserved front row seating.  One can purchase tickets through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-chris-white-trio-tribute-to-a-charlie-brown-christmas-tickets-60143808751?aff=erellivmlt.  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.  The address of Café Brauer is 2021 North Stockton Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60614.  For more information, check www.lpzoo.org/events.

2nd Annual Zoo Year’s Eve

Another new event this year is Zoo Year’s Eve from 9:00  p.m. on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 (New Year’s Eve) to 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 1, 2020 (New Year’s Day).  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.  Park Place Café, Eadie Levy’s Landmark Café, and Bird’s Eye Bar & Grill will be selling food.  Beer, wine, and champagne will be available fro purchase from cash bars.  Please note that the restaurnts accept both cash and credit and debit cards, but the pop-up cash bars may literally only accept cash.  This event will run from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.  Early-bird tickets begin at $10.  One can purchase tickets from Evenbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/zoo-years-eve-at-lincoln-park-zoo-adults-only-21-new-years-eve-party-tickets-65099991828?aff=ebdshpsearchautocomplete.  Tickets do not cover parking.  To learn more, check www.lpzoo.org/events.

Marriage Proposals at ZooLights

The Lincoln Park Zoo has a wedding engagement package for couples who desire a ZooLights setting for a marriage proposal.  Interested parties should contact the L.P.Z.’s Private Events Department by e-mailing groupsales@lpzoo.org.

 

Credit: Lincoln Park Zoo Caption: Nearly 590,000 people attended the Lincoln Park Zoo’s 23rd Annual ZooLights over the course of thirty-five nights, the L.P.Z. reported on January 10, 2018.

 

The Lincoln Park Zoo 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.  Founded in 1868, the Lincoln Park Zoo celebrated its 150th anniversary last year.  Approximately 200 animal species are represented at the zoo.  It is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.  The address is 2001 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois 60614.  The phone number is (312) 742-2000.

 

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