Living Desert offers a unique holiday experience

Photo courtesy of The Chaparral. Tunnel of lights at The Living Desert.

BY AMBER JUAREZ

COPY EDITOR

The Living Desert is inviting you to their annual WildLights event. The zoo is celebrating 27 years of the holiday celebration. The entire property is transformed into a beautiful winter wonderland. 

The Living Desert’s senior marketing and public relations manager Erin Scott said, “The 27the Annual WildLights is a festive holiday tradition for guests of all ages. Attendees can stroll the many lighted pathways, admire the light displays and partake in a variety of activities including visits with Santa, live entertainment, a Polar Express train ride and more.”

Guests can glare at over a million Christmas lights around the zoo. Allen Monroe, CEO and president said, “The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, is a magical place and even more so in the glow of holiday lights.”  Monroe went on to say, “The enchanting assortment of illuminated animal sculptures – many representing species found at the zoo sets this event apart from many other holiday traditions. As with all events at the zoo, WildLights not only helps support our mission of saving endangered species, it makes for wonderful family memories.”

WildLights is an event the whole family can enjoy. “Many activities are included in the cost of admission, including live entertainment, visits with Santa, arts and crafts and all of the light displays,” said Scott.Children can even write a letter to Santa at the Discovery Center and watch a holiday movie.  

At the amphitheater, guests can enjoy meeting different animals like owls, possums, armadillos, snakes and much more. Visitors are able to pet these animals.  

Zookeepers switch out the animals throughout the hours.

For an additional fee, guests are able to ride the carousel, make smores at the smores station and ride the Polar Express throughout the winter wonderland.  

You can also buy food and beverages at the Churro Stop, Palm Garden, Thorntree Grill and Safari Soft Serve.  

During the event, guests are able to see some of the animals in the zoo. “WildLights is a nighttime event, so only certain animals will be out of their habitat. However, there are nightly animal encounters from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the amphitheater as well as keeper chats,” said Scott. 

The North America section is closed off to visitors but the Africa section is open.

This event is presented by H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. This foundation supports established organizations mostly the ones that promote healthcare, social services and education, to help people help themselves. 

Scott said, “The H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation has been a key sponsor of this event for almost 20 years.” 

The Living Desert is a non-profitable organization so the money from this event will go directly towards keeping all the animals in the zoo.

”WildLights is an important fundraiser for The Living Desert, and supports animal care, education and conservation programs,” said  Scott. 

Enjoy your holiday at the Living Deserts WildLights this holiday season. General admission tickets are $14 for adults, member tickets are $12, children ages 3 to 12 are $10 and children under the age of 3 are free. You can purchase tickets online or at the admissions windows or kiosks. 

The tickets you buy online are valid any night of WildLights.

WildLights will be held throughout December the following days: 13, 14 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27 and 28.

For more information about The Living Desert or for ticket information visit, www.livingdesert.org.

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