Hogle Zoo Lights


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Step into a magical realm where the animal kingdom meets holiday splendor at Hogle Zoo Lights in Salt Lake City, Utah. This annual festival of lights not only offers an extravagant array of twinkling lights and curtain lights but also a unique experience of viewing animals in this radiant backdrop. From festival dates and ticket prices to weather advisories and nearby amenities, we’ve got everything you need to know for a festive evening out among the wildlife.

Hogle Zoo Lights
Festival highlights

About the Festival

Hogle Zoo Lights is an annual celebration that brings together the joys of the holiday season with the thrill of wildlife. Once a year, as the snow starts to fall, the zoo transforms into an enchanting spectacle of lights and colors, illuminating the crisp Salt Lake City nights. But what sets this festival of lights apart from your average Christmas light show is its seamless blend with the natural inhabitants of the zoo, giving you a multi-sensory experience that’s both unique and magical.

Featured Lighting Displays

  • Illuminated Animal Sculptures: Think elephants and lions in radiant outlines.
  • Fairy Lights: A whimsical touch scattered throughout the venue.
  • Christmas Lights and Decorations: Because what’s a holiday without some traditional Christmas lights?
  • Twinkling Trees: Trees adorned with lights that shimmer like stars in the night sky.
  • Blinking Christmas Trees: These aren’t your usual static displays; these trees blink in choreographed patterns.
  • Choreographed Lights: A mesmerizing dance of lights set to festive tunes.
  • Tunnel of Lights: Walk through an archway of cascading lights for that ultimate Instagram moment.

Other Activities

  • Enjoying Snacks: Tuck into some delicious snacks available within the festival grounds.
  • Taking Photos: Immortalize the glowing moments with your camera or phone.
  • Meeting Santa Claus: The jolly old man himself is available for greetings and photo ops.

Come for the lights, but stay for the atmosphere. Between the immersive light displays and the engaging activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at Hogle Zoo Lights.

Festival Dates (2023)

Mark your calendars and set your reminders because Hogle Zoo Lights has a specific timeline to shower you with its luminous wonders. In 2023, this treasured festival of lights takes center stage in December, illuminating the Hogle Zoo on select dates. Here’s when you can step into this glowing realm:

  • Early December: Catch the first rays of the festival from December 1st to 3rd.
  • Mid-December Weekends: The lights continue to dazzle on the dates of December 6th-10th and 13th-17th.
  • Holiday Peak: Just before Santa comes to town, witness the festival in its full glory from December 20th to 23rd.
  • Post-Christmas Glow: Even after the presents are unwrapped, the festival keeps twinkling from December 27th to 30th.

Where It’s Located and How to Get There

If you’re dreaming of a winter wonderland where the festival of lights meets a natural habitat, look no further than Hogle Zoo Lights, located in Utah’s Hogle Zoo. This enchanting festival finds its home at 2600 Sunnyside Ave S, Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. The venue serves as the perfect setting, offering a captivating blend of lush landscapes and enclosures where animals reside, all decked out in twinkling lights and festive decorations.

In terms of distance, Utah’s Hogle Zoo is approximately 14 miles from Salt Lake City International Airport. Getting to the zoo from the airport is a breeze, with several options available for your choosing:

  • Taxi or Rideshare: A straightforward ride will get you to the zoo in about 20 minutes, depending on traffic.
  • Car Rental: Multiple car rental services are available at the airport, allowing you the flexibility to come and go as you please.
  • Public Transit: Take the TRAX Green Line to the Central Pointe Station, where you can switch to bus number 220 that stops right outside the zoo.

How to Get to Salt Lake City by Train

If you’re arriving from another city and prefer the scenic route via train, you’re in for a treat. Here’s a step-by-step guideline on how to get to Salt Lake City:

  • From Los Angeles: Board Amtrak’s California Zephyr train which offers a picturesque journey, culminating in Salt Lake City’s downtown Amtrak station.
  • From Chicago: Again, the California Zephyr is your best bet, offering a longer yet scenic route to Salt Lake City.
  • From Denver: The California Zephyr continues to be the train of choice, connecting Denver to Salt Lake City in roughly 15 hours.
  • From San Francisco: Begin with the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to Emeryville, where you can board the California Zephyr directly to Salt Lake City.
  • From New York: Start with Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited to Chicago, where you’ll switch to the California Zephyr, leading you to your Utah destination.

For train schedules and ticket pricing, visit the respective train company’s official website.

Looking for more lights in Utah? Check out the Spanish Fork Festival Of Lights

Festival Hours

When it comes to timing your visit, it’s crucial to know the festival’s operational hours to make the most of your luminous adventure. Hogle Zoo Lights festival shines bright from 6:30 PM to 10:00 PM. This gives you ample time to bask in the glow of illuminated animal sculptures, walk beneath twinkling trees, and perhaps even enjoy a choreographed light show set to your favorite holiday tunes.

These hours are carefully chosen to align with the nocturnal routines of some zoo animals, offering you a unique chance to see them in a different light, literally! So whether you’re an early-evening wanderer or a night owl, these hours offer a generous window for you to explore, enjoy, and embrace the Hogle Zoo in its most festive form.

Cost to Visit Hogle Zoo Lights

One of the most frequently asked questions is, of course, “How much will this sparkling experience set me back?” For the 2023 Hogle Zoo Lights, organizers are yet to release the official ticket prices. However, to give you a ballpark figure, last year’s ticket prices ranged from $11.95 to $14.95.

If you’re planning a family outing, here’s some good news: children aged 2 and under can enter for free. That’s right, your tiny tots can marvel at the twinkling trees and fairy lights without adding to your budget.

But wait, there’s more! If you’re a zoo member, you’re in for a treat—a $3 discount off ticket prices. It’s the zoo’s way of saying ‘thank you’ for your support throughout the year.

To stay abreast of ticket information, and to avoid any surprises, make sure to visit the zoo’s official website regularly for the most current pricing and special offers. Trust us, you’ll want to keep an eye out; you wouldn’t want to miss this unique blend of a light festival and natural wonder.

Hogle Zoo Lights

Weather and What to Wear

Salt Lake City, Utah in December is a winter wonderland, offering a naturally frosty backdrop to the twinkling lights of Hogle Zoo. Typical temperatures for this month range from lows of -7°C (19°F) to highs of 2°C (36°F). So yes, it’s going to be chilly, but that’s all part of the festive charm, isn’t it?

Recommended Clothing:

  • Insulated Jacket: Opt for something water-resistant to keep out both the cold and any potential snowfall.
  • Warm Hat: A wool or fleece hat can make a significant difference in comfort.
  • Gloves: Keep those fingers nimble for photo-taking with a warm pair of gloves.
  • Waterproof Boots: Your feet are your primary mode of transport, so make sure they’re warm and dry.
  • Scarves and Neck Gaiters: To keep the cold winds from sneaking down your collar.
  • Hand Warmers: These small packets can be a game-changer when temperatures dip.

Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby

After a magical evening at Hogle Zoo Lights, you’ll likely want a cozy place to rest your head; fortunately, Salt Lake City offers a variety of lodging options to suit every preference and budget.

Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek

  • Address: 75 S W Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, United States
  • Location: Just 4.2 miles from Hogle Zoo
  • Description: This plush hotel brings a touch of luxury to your festival experience, offering spacious rooms and premium bedding.
  • Amenities: Enjoy free Wi-Fi, an indoor pool, and multiple dining options, including an on-site Starbucks for your morning caffeine fix.

The Peery Salt Lake City Downtown

  • Address: 110 W Broadway, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, United States
  • Location: Situated 4.5 miles away from the zoo
  • Description: This hotel offers vintage vibes with a blend of modern amenities, set in a historic building that dates back to the early 1900s.
  • Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, a fitness center, and an on-site restaurant make this a convenient choice for both comfort and utility.

Hyatt House Salt Lake City Downtown

  • Address: 140 S 300 W, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, United States
  • Location: A budget-friendly option, located just 4.7 miles from Hogle Zoo
  • Description: This hotel offers an affordable yet comfortable experience with studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom options.
  • Amenities: Along with free Wi-Fi, enjoy a complimentary breakfast, 24/7 fitness center, and a mini-market for late-night snacks or travel essentials.

What to Eat

When you’ve worked up an appetite exploring the radiant beauty of Hogle Zoo Lights, Salt Lake City has a smorgasbord of dining options to satiate your hunger.

The Dodo Restaurant

  • Location: 1355 E 2100 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84105, United States
  • Description: This restaurant is your go-to for classic American comfort food, served in a cozy, welcoming atmosphere.
  • Foods They Serve: Think hearty sandwiches, succulent rotisserie chicken, and their famous Tollhouse Pie that feels like a warm hug on a cold winter night.

Sage’s Cafe

  • Location: 234 W 900 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, United States
  • Description: A sanctuary for vegetarians and health-conscious diners, Sage’s Cafe offers a relaxed setting to enjoy plant-based delights.
  • Foods They Serve: From organic salads to veggie burgers and an assortment of vegan desserts, Sage’s Cafe presents a menu that’s as nutritious as it is delicious.

Red Iguana

  • Location: 736 W North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, United States
  • Description: When Mexican cuisine calls your name, there’s no better place to satisfy those cravings than Red Iguana.
  • Foods They Serve: Specializing in authentic Mexican dishes, the menu features classics like enchiladas, tamales, and a variety of moles, ensuring a feast of flavors for every palate.

More Things To Do In The Area

After you’ve had your fill of twinkling spectacle at Hogle Zoo Lights, the Salt Lake City area offers a treasure trove of other attractions worth exploring.

Natural History Museum of Utah

  • Location: 301 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, United States
  • Description: Dive deep into Utah’s rich history, from its indigenous cultures to its diverse landscapes.
  • Activities: With interactive exhibits on everything from paleontology to anthropology, you can spend hours immersed in the museum’s educational displays and hands-on activities.

Red Butte Garden

  • Location: 300 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, United States
  • Description: Red Butte Garden is the ideal spot for nature lovers, boasting beautiful landscapes and well-tended flower beds.
  • Activities: Stroll through themed gardens, attend seasonal workshops, or simply bask in the natural beauty of this botanical haven.

Utah’s Hogle Zoo

  • Location: 2600 E Sunnyside Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, United States
  • Description: If the festival has you enamored, consider visiting the zoo again during the daytime.
  • Activities: Witness the animals in their natural habitats, sans the Christmas light show, attend live animal demonstrations, and explore the different exhibits the zoo has to offer. It’s a completely different experience in daylight!

A Final Sparkle: Wrapping Up Your Unforgettable Visit to Hogle Zoo Lights

In the season of lights and celebrations, Hogle Zoo Lights stands as a sparkling jewel in Salt Lake City’s winter offerings. From mesmerizing light displays to a myriad of other attractions, it promises a wholesome, magical experience for all ages. 

With convenient lodging and dining options nearby, your trip can be as comfortable as it is enchanting. So bundle up, grab a cup of hot cocoa, and let the twinkling spectacle illuminate your holiday season.


Is parking available at the zoo?

Yes, Hogle Zoo offers ample parking for visitors. However, it’s advisable to arrive early, especially during weekends, as the lot tends to fill up quickly during the festival season.

Is smoking allowed within the zoo premises?

No, Hogle Zoo is a smoke-free environment. This policy applies to all forms of smoking, including e-cigarettes.

Can I bring my pet to Hogle Zoo Lights?

Unfortunately, pets are not allowed at the zoo for the safety of the animals and other visitors. Service animals, however, are permitted.

Are there food and beverages available for purchase?

Yes, there are several concession stands within the festival grounds where you can enjoy a variety of snacks and beverages, including hot cocoa to keep you warm.

What is the best time to visit Hogle Zoo Lights?

Weekdays generally have smaller crowds compared to weekends. If you prefer a quieter experience, a weekday visit may be best for you.

Are group discounts available for ticket purchases?

Yes, group discounts are usually offered for groups of 20 or more. It’s recommended to contact the zoo directly for specific pricing and reservations.

Is the festival wheelchair accessible?

Yes, Hogle Zoo makes efforts to be accessible to all visitors. Wheelchair rentals are also available at the zoo on a first-come, first-served basis.

Are photography and videography allowed?

Absolutely, you are encouraged to capture your magical moments at the festival. However, commercial photography and drone usage are not permitted without prior approval from the zoo’s administration.

While this article aims to answer questions and concerns about Hogle Zoo Lights, it is always best to visit the zoo’s official website for up-to-date information.




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