Calgary Zoo Lights

Calgary Zoo Lights

Calgary Zoo Lights is one of my favorite holiday traditions.

Each year over 1.5 million lights are set up around the zoo, draped over trees and creatively shaped into animals.  It was also voted Best Christmas Event 2011 by Calgary’s Child Magazine’s Parents’ Choice Awards.  I don’t have kids but still love Zoo Lights.  It will come as no surprise that I have a soft spot for the monkeys.

Calgary Zoo Lights in Calgary, Canada I don’t know exactly how many times I’ve been to Calgary Zoo Lights, but it’s quite a few.  I also used to work there)and was excited to share the tradition with J.P. my German husband since there is nothing like it that I’m aware of in Germany.  Germany knows how to do Christmas markets, but Canada knows how to do Christmas lights!
Calgary Zoo Lights in Calgary, Canada Also joining us were my friend Leilani and her young son who kept naming the animals he saw illuminated by all the lights and asking for the names of the ones that he didn’t know – adorable!
Calgary Zoo Lights in Calgary, Canada The only other time she had been there was with me seven years ago.  She reminded me of our visit when we were both single and not all that happy about our single status.  We walked through “Lovers Lane” covered with candy cane lights and teenagers making out, while couples strolled hand in hand while pushing a baby carriage.  It seemed like everyone could get a date – even pimply covered awkward teenagers…except for us, two thirty-somethings.
Calgary Zoo Lights in Calgary, Canada We made a pact that one day we would return to Zoo Lights on a double date – with our yet to be found partners, where we join the ranks of smug couples who had someone to kiss in “Lovers Lane”.
Calgary Zoo Lights in Calgary, Canada Flash forward seven years later and that pact was realized….well almost and… not exactly how we had envisioned it.  Her husband decided not to join us as he was tired from a long day of work, thereby “crushing” our double date dream of going to Zoo Lights together.  My husband, not used to all the lights thought it was “nice, but too much” and rolled his eyes as I insisted that we stroll through “Lovers Lane” hand and hand and snuck in a kiss.   Hmmm….so much for the romance!
Calgary Zoo Lights in Calgary, Canada At least Leilani’s two year old son, shared our enthusiasm for the lights as he excitedly pointed out his favorites.  We made another pact.  We would return again with her son and one of my future but currently non-existent children (yes our pacts usually involve non-existent people) …without our husbands.
Calgary Zoo Lights in Calgary, Canada Calgary Zoo Lights will always remain one of my favorite holiday traditions…even if “Lovers Lane” didn’t exactly pan out for me as expected.

Know Before You Got to Zoo Lights in Calgary:

  • Zoo Lights is outside so dress warmly so that you can enjoy it without being cold.
  • Zoo Lights runs from November 23rd 2012 to January 5th, 2013 (excluding Christmas Day and January 1st).
  • It is open from 6:00 – 9:00 pm, with the last entrance at 8:30.
  • Entrance is from the North Gate only.
  • Cost is $10 adult, $7 children (3-15).
  • Tickets may also be purchased in advance at Calgary Co-op for the same price as indicated above, but this is a good way to skip the lines and get immediate access.
  • Parking is free.
  • The Calgary Zoo is also  located on the C-Train, making it very accessible via public transportation.
  • For more info visit the Calgary Zoo.

Thank you to the Calgary Zoo for hosting me.  As always all opinions expressed are my own.


  1. says

    I have three tickets and I still have yet to go. Hopefully I can fit it in this week because it does look like a festive place to visit – even if you don’t have kids to drag along.

    • says

      @Italian Notes – Maybe it’s a North American thing, my husband thought the lights were “too much” as well, but I find them beautiful.

  2. says

    Love lights in the zoo. Haven’t seen the Calgary version yet, but I’ve seen a few others, and they’re so much fun to walk through. Of course, I’ve only done them in southern states where it was nice and warm. Not too sure I’d want to be outside walking around in Calgary any longer than necessary in December.

  3. says

    Excellent photos of our zoo lights. Brisk weather has changed to seasonally balmy and winter sports have taken off in the New Year. All ski sports are very busy and there is excellent ice to climb in the Ghost. Glad you had a chance to visit over the holidays. All the best to you for 2013. Looking forward to enjoying your excellent posts.

    • says

      @Barry – Thank you. I wish I was able to get out to the mountains, I was so sick, that the Zoo Lights was one of my few outings. Wish you all the best in 2013 as well.

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