Visit the Newly Redesigned Winter Village 

TOLEDO, November 13, 2023: The Toledo Zoo is thrilled to announce the highly anticipated opening of  Lights Before Christmas presented by KeyBank on Nov. 17, 2023. This beloved holiday tradition will begin with a magnificent tree-lighting ceremony, marking the beginning of a magical season filled with enchantment and wonder.

The tree-lighting ceremony is the kickoff of the six-week-long event which features over one million lights, 200+ illuminated animal images, dancing lights sponsored by Fiber Frame, our ice slide, and photo ops with Santa in the newly redesigned Winter Village. With delicious seasonal treats and warm beverages available throughout the Zoo, guests can indulge in the holiday spirit while creating lasting memories with loved ones.

For 38 years, The Toledo Zoo Lights Before Christmas presented by KeyBank has been a staple holiday tradition in northwest Ohio. In 2022, the Toledo Zoo was voted second for USA TODAY 10Best Zoo Lights and this year’s edition will surely be even more spectacular. The Toledo Zoo is honored to be nominated yet again for the 10Best Lights and urges the community to vote at

Visitors can experience the magic of the holiday season at the newly redesigned Winter Village, sponsored by Kroger, located in the historic Amphitheatre. Enjoy a festive beverage at Twinkle Tavern and shop seasonal merchandise at Enchanted Gifts. There will be fire pits and holiday treats for sale at The Sweet Shoppe. Visits with Santa will also be located in the village from 4-8 p.m. daily, Nov. 17- Dec. 23.

“We are excited to unveil the revitalized Winter Village as part of the Toledo Zoo Lights Before Christmas,” said Shayla Moriarty, chief operating officer and executive vice president of the Toledo Zoo. “Our team has worked tirelessly to create the enhanced Winter Village and we hope it will become a cherished holiday tradition for years to come.”


2023 Toledo Zoo Lights Before Christmas will be open Nov. 17 – Dec. 31, 2023, during the following times:

During this season the Zoo is not open during the daytime and is only open for Lights, starting at 3 p.m.

Mon – Thurs

Open 3 – 8 p.m., Zoo closes at 9 p.m.


Fri – Sun

Open 3 – 9 p.m., Zoo closes at 10 p.m.


Thanksgiving Day

Open 3 – 8 p.m., Zoo closes at 9 p.m.


Christmas Eve

Open 3 – 9 p.m., Zoo closes at 10 p.m.


Christmas Day

Open 3 – 8 p.m., Zoo closes at 9 p.m.


New Year’s Eve

Open 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Zoo closes at 10 p.m.


Reservations are required for members and non-members. Tickets can be purchased at



2023 Toledo Zoo Lights Before Christmas

  • Special Events:


Brewdolph Bash, presented by Rehmann

Nov. 16

21+ event


Polar Paws & Santa Claws 5K run/walk

Dec. 10


Noon Year’s Eve

Dec. 31


  • Rides and Activities


$3 per ride

Indoor African Carousel


Ice Carving Demos

Thursdays in Dec. at 6 p.m. in Main Plaza. Included with Zoo admission.


Reindeer Encounter

Visit our Reindeer in the Nancy L. & Martin Davidson Barnyard. Included with Zoo admission.


Holly Jolly Express

$3 per ride

Holiday train ride through Africa! Fri, Sat, Sun only. Weather permitting.


Swanton Model Train Railroad Club

Starting 5 p.m. daily in the Cafe. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Included with Zoo admission.


Special ride bundles are available for a discounted rate.