The ZooLights of DC
For a festive night with family or friends, head over to the Smithsonian's National Zoo to partake in ZooLights. From November 29 to January 1 (except December 24, 25, and 31), the Smithsonian National Zoo will be decked out in lights and special exhibits for the public, free of charge. While admission is free, the charge for parking is $25 per car, so taking public transportation is encouraged.
ZooLights in Washington, DC is anything but standard. The night comes aglow with laser light shows on the outdoor wall of the Elephant Community Center and large animal lanterns stationed around the park, including elephants, zebras, monkeys, pandas, and more. ZooLights is decidedly modern with Pandamonium: A Virtual Experience, which has guests put on a virtual reality headset to interact with giant pandas Bei Bei and Bao Bao and their parents in an immersive film.
Other activities include Zootubes, where they can slide down a tube near the tiger and lion exhibits. Take a ride on the Smithsonian’s National Zoo Choo-Choo to see the dazzling lights around the zoo, or hop on the Speedwell Foundation Conservation Carousel (for a cost of $3.50 each). There will also be the opportunity for a spot of shopping at the European-style outdoor Grump Holiday Market where local artisans will present their unique offerings. ZooLights has something for everyone, no matter what age.