Stone Zoo Lights


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Dive into the radiant charm of Stone Zoo Lights in Stoneham, Massachusetts, a festival where nature meets artistry in a glowing dance of illumination. As winter blankets the area, the zoo becomes a canvas for twinkling lights, enchanting displays, and the magic of the holiday season. Not just another light festival, it’s a celebration where wild animals, fairy lights, and festive spirit harmoniously intertwine. Get ready to embark on a luminous journey, where every corner promises awe, wonder, and memories to cherish.


Stone Zoo Lights
Festival highlights

About the Festival

Zoo Lights at Stone Zoo is an annual event steeped in tradition and charm, specifically designed to commemorate the holiday season in the most glowing way possible. As the days grow shorter and the festive spirit begins to infuse the air, Stone Zoo undergoes a transformation from a hub of wildlife and nature into an illuminated wonderland, an enthralling merger of the wild world with festive artistry. This enchanting metamorphosis provides visitors with an unforgettable experience, ensuring that they are not merely observing a festival of lights but immersing themselves in a holiday-themed safari.

Lighting Displays

  • Twinkling Lights: Sparkling lights that shimmer, creating a starry sky effect on the ground.
  • Larger-than-life Lantern Displays: Grandiose lanterns casting radiant glows, telling stories through their luminance.
  • Illuminated Animal Sculptures: Vibrant structures that pay homage to the zoo’s inhabitants, glowing magically as night falls.
  • Animated Light Installations: Dynamic installations that dance and play, adding a layer of animation to the static beauty.
  • Glowing Trees: Majestic trees wrapped in lights, transforming them into beacons of festive spirit.
  • Animal Outlined Light Displays: Celebrating the zoo’s fauna, these displays outline animals, making them shine bright in the night.
  • Curtain Lights: Cascading down like radiant waterfalls, adding an ethereal charm to the surroundings.

Other Activities to Explore

  • Stroll through the Yukon Creek: A serene pathway illuminated beautifully, allowing visitors to feel as if they’re walking through a fairy tale.
  • Watch Animated Displays Move to Music: A symphony of light and sound, where animated light shows groove to the rhythm of holiday tunes.
  • Visit Santa and Mrs. Claus: An essential holiday staple, visitors can meet and greet with the jolly couple, capturing festive memories that last a lifetime.

The Stone Zoo Lights is more than just an event; it’s a heartwarming celebration that embodies the essence of the holiday season, intertwining nature’s beauty with human artistry. As the lights flicker and the melodies play, visitors are transported into a world where magic is real and memories are forged. Step into this luminous realm, and let the spirit of the season guide your journey through a wonderland of joy and wonder.

Festival Dates (2023 – 2024)

The enchanting Zoo Lights at Stone Zoo marks its radiant presence from November 17, 2023, to January 7, 2024. This extensive period ensures that both locals and visitors from afar can partake in the joyous celebration and immerse themselves in the festival’s luminous allure. 

However, it’s noteworthy to mention that the lights will dim, and the zoo will remain closed on November 23 and December 25, ensuring that the spirit of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day is celebrated in its true essence. Make sure to plan your visit accordingly, so you don’t miss out on this mesmerizing light show.

Where It’s Located and How to Get There

Nestled in the scenic town of Stoneham, the Stone Zoo stands as a testament to nature’s wonders. Every year, it plays host to the mesmerizing Zoo Lights, adding a touch of festive luminescence to its natural beauty. The exact location for this captivating display is Stone Zoo, Stoneham, Massachusetts, United States. With its convenient location, the zoo promises an easy journey for those eager to witness the fusion of wildlife and festive lights.

From the Airport to the Zoo

The nearest major airport to Stone Zoo is Boston Logan International Airport. From the airport, Stone Zoo is roughly a 30-minute drive, depending on traffic conditions. Visitors have several options to reach the zoo from the airport:

  1. Car Rentals: Numerous car rental services operate from Boston Logan International Airport. Renting a car can be an excellent choice for those looking to explore Stoneham and its surroundings at their own pace.
  2. Taxi or Ride-Sharing Services: Companies like Uber and Lyft are active in the Boston area and provide convenient rides from the airport directly to the zoo.
  3. Public Transport: Taking the MBTA is another option. While it might require a combination of trains and buses, it offers an authentic experience of the local transit system.

Reaching Stoneham by Train from Other Cities

For those venturing from other cities and keen on taking the train, here’s a guideline to help you get to Stoneham:

  1. From New York City: Take the Amtrak Northeast Regional service to Boston’s South Station. From South Station, transfer to the MBTA Orange Line and get off at Oak Grove. From Oak Grove, the 132 bus goes directly to Stoneham.
  2. From Providence: Ride the MBTA Commuter Rail Providence/Stoughton Line to Boston’s Back Bay Station. Transfer to the Orange Line towards Oak Grove and then take the 132 bus to Stoneham.
  3. From Portland, Maine: Board the Amtrak Downeaster to Boston’s North Station. From North Station, take the Green Line to Haymarket, transfer to the Orange Line towards Oak Grove, and finally, take the 132 bus to Stoneham.

Make sure to inquire with the respective train company’s official website for up-to-date information on train schedules and ticket prices.

Looking for more lights in Massachusetts? Check out the Festival Of Lights Boston

Festival Hours

For those eager to bask in the glow of the Zoo Lights, Stone Zoo comes alive with a kaleidoscope of colors and enchanting displays each evening. The gates open to this luminescent wonderland from 4:00 PM, just as the sun begins to set and the natural light gives way to a festival of brilliance. The sparkling spectacle continues to dazzle visitors until 9:30 PM

This window ensures that whether you’re an early evening wanderer or a night owl, there’s ample time to immerse oneself in the magic and wonder that the Zoo Lights offer. Remember to arrive within this time frame to fully experience the radiant beauty of Stone Zoo under the shimmering blanket of festive lights.

Cost to Visit Stone Zoo Lights

The allure of the Zoo Lights at Stone Zoo is not just in its mesmerizing displays but also in the affordability of the experience. Here’s a breakdown of the ticket pricing, ensuring both members and non-members can plan their visit accordingly:

For Members of Stone Zoo

  • General Admission: $12.95
  • Family 4 Pack: $43 (Ideal for families looking for a bundled offer)

For Non-Members

  • General Admission: $13.95
  • Family 4 Pack: $50 (A value-packed option for families or groups)

It’s worth noting that the youngest visitors, those aged 2 and under, are welcomed free of charge, ensuring that families can enjoy this luminous celebration without any added financial strain.

To make the process smoother and more convenient, visitors have the option to purchase their tickets online, allowing for a seamless entry and ensuring that more time is spent under the enchanting lights rather than in ticket lines. Be sure to grab your tickets early and immerse yourself in this radiant festival of lights.

For up-to-date information on ticket prices, visit the zoo’s official website.

Weather and What to Wear

Stoneham, Massachusetts, during the months of November to January, presents a typical New England winter landscape. As the fall leaves bid their final adieu, the region dons a cooler and sometimes frosty demeanor. Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect:

  • November: Temperatures often fluctuate between the mid-30s to mid-50s (°F). As the month progresses, there’s a noticeable dip, signaling the onset of winter. Occasional rain or snow showers might make an appearance.
  • December: This month truly marks the beginning of winter with temperatures ranging from the mid-20s to low 40s (°F). Snow becomes more frequent, blanketing the region in a serene white.
  • January: January is the coldest month, with temperatures often hovering between the high teens to mid-30s (°F). Snowfall is common, and the region can experience some chilly winds.

Recommended Clothing

To ensure a cozy experience under the shimmering lights of the Zoo Lights festival, here are some clothing recommendations:

  • Warm Jackets or Coats: Essential to combat the chilly temperatures. Opt for insulated or down jackets for maximum warmth.
  • Thermal Layers: Wear thermals underneath your regular clothes to retain body heat.
  • Hats, Gloves, and Scarves: These accessories are not just for fashion; they are vital in keeping the cold at bay.
  • Sturdy Boots: Given the possibility of snow or wet grounds, waterproof boots with a good grip are a must.
  • Warm Socks: Wool or thermal socks can make a world of difference.
  • Layered Clothing: It allows you to adjust your comfort level by adding or removing layers as needed.

Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby

Finding the perfect place to rest after an enchanting evening under the zoo lights is crucial, and Stoneham offers a range of options to suit every traveler’s needs.

  • Best Western Lord Wakefield
    • Address: 595 North Ave, Wakefield, MA 01880
    • Location: Set beside the tranquil Lake Quannapowitt, this hotel offers a peaceful retreat just a short drive from the Stone Zoo.
    • Description: The Best Western Lord Wakefield blends serene lakeside views with contemporary design and amenities.
    • Amenities: Modern rooms, on-site restaurant, fitness center, and, of course, complimentary Wi-Fi for guests.
  • Hilton Boston/Woburn
    • Address: 2 Forbes Rd, Woburn, MA 01801
    • Location: Located in the neighboring town of Woburn, this luxury hotel is about a 15-minute drive from Stone Zoo.
    • Description: Hilton Boston/Woburn exudes elegance and offers a blend of comfort and sophistication.
    • Amenities: Spacious rooms, indoor pool, on-site restaurant, fitness center, and free Wi-Fi for a seamless online experience.
  • Four Points by Sheraton Wakefield
    • Address: 1 Audubon Rd, Wakefield, MA 01880
    • Location: Conveniently located just 10 minutes away from the Stone Zoo.
    • Description: Four Points by Sheraton Wakefield ensures a relaxed stay with its well-appointed rooms and attentive service.
    • Amenities: Comfortable bedding, on-site dining options, fitness facilities, and complimentary Wi-Fi to keep you connected.

What to Eat

Exploring the Zoo Lights is bound to stir up an appetite, and thankfully, Stoneham and its neighboring towns are teeming with delightful dining options.

  • Stoneham Pizza
    • Location: 232 Main St, Stoneham, MA 02180
    • Description: Perfect for those looking for a quick yet scrumptious bite, Stoneham Pizza offers a cozy atmosphere with prompt service.
    • Foods Served: From classic Margherita to meat lover’s delights, this place serves an array of pizzas, complemented by a variety of pasta dishes, salads, and sub sandwiches.
  • The Melting Pot
    • Location: 213 Burlington Rd, Bedford, MA 01730
    • Description: Dive into a unique dining adventure at The Melting Pot, where fondue takes the center stage, offering an interactive and fun experience.
    • Foods Served: Featuring cheese fondues, savory entree fondues, and delectable chocolate fondues for dessert. Paired with salads and wine, it’s a meal to remember.
  • 80 Thoreau
    • Location: 80 Thoreau St, Concord, MA 01742
    • Description: A short drive from Stoneham, 80 Thoreau promises an upscale dining experience emphasizing fresh, local ingredients.
    • Foods Served: With a farm-to-table approach, the menu here changes seasonally, featuring dishes like roasted duck breast, pan-seared scallops, and an array of vegetarian options, all prepared with a contemporary flair.

More Things to Do In the Area

When the magical glow of the Zoo Lights fades, Stoneham and its neighboring areas beckon with a myriad of activities and attractions.

  • Spot Pond
    • Location: Spot Pond, Stoneham, MA 02180
    • Description: An idyllic natural retreat, Spot Pond offers visitors a chance to unwind amidst picturesque surroundings.
    • Activities: Whether you’re in the mood to rent a boat and paddle around, or you’d prefer to sit by the shore and fish, the calm waters and scenic beauty of Spot Pond are a must-visit.
  • Stoneham Theatre
    • Location: 395 Main St, Stoneham, MA 02180
    • Description: The heart of Stoneham’s cultural scene, this theater promises an evening of captivating performances and artistic brilliance.
    • Activities: From heartwarming plays to riveting live shows, there’s always something happening at the Stoneham Theatre. Check their schedule and book a seat for a memorable night out.
  • Winchester Historical Society
    • Location: 80 Cambridge St, Winchester, MA 01890
    • Description: For those keen on diving deep into the region’s history, the Winchester Historical Society provides a fascinating journey.
    • Activities: Explore exhibits that shed light on the local history, attend talks, and immerse yourself in the stories of the past that have shaped the present of this charming region.

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

In the heart of winter, Stone Zoo Lights stands as a beacon of joy and wonder. We’ve walked through twinkling pathways, witnessed radiant animal displays, and embraced the festive spirit in the air. Beyond the luminous allure, Stoneham itself unfurls a tapestry of experiences waiting to be discovered. As the curtain lights fade, the memories of this magical festival remain, lighting up our hearts and beckoning us to return.


Is there parking available at Stone Zoo for the Zoo Lights event?
Yes, there is parking available at Stone Zoo. However, given the popularity of the Zoo Lights event, it’s advisable to arrive early to secure a spot.

Can I smoke during the Zoo Lights event?
For the comfort and safety of all visitors, Stone Zoo is a smoke-free environment. Smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes and vape pens, is prohibited within the zoo premises.

Are pets allowed at the Zoo Lights?
While we love animals, pets are not permitted during the Zoo Lights event. Service animals, however, are welcome.

Is there a discount for zoo members during Zoo Lights?
Yes, zoo members often receive discounted ticket prices for the Zoo Lights event. It’s best to check the zoo’s official website for current member pricing.

Is the event suitable for all ages?
Absolutely! The Zoo Lights event is a family-friendly experience designed to enchant visitors of all ages.

Are there any food and drink stalls during the event?
Yes, there are a variety of food and beverage options available for visitors to enjoy during the Zoo Lights event.

Can I buy Zoo Lights tickets at the door, or do they need to be pre-purchased?
While tickets can be purchased at the door, it’s recommended to buy them in advance, especially during peak nights, to avoid long lines and potential sell-outs.

In case of inclement weather, will the Zoo Lights event be canceled?
The event typically runs rain or shine, but in cases of extreme weather conditions, it’s best to check the zoo’s official website or contact them directly for updates.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to check the zoo’s official website or give them a call for the most up-to-date information before your visit.


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