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Detroit Zoo Wild Lights 2023: BEST Guide to Wild Lights Detroit Zoo

Detroit Zoo Lights

About the Detroit Zoo Wild Lights: 2023 Guide

It’s that time of year again when we pull on our hats, parkas, and warm mittens and head out in the early evening to celebrate the season alongside millions of twinkling holiday lights and some Michigan wildlife at the Detroit Zoo in Michigan’s Oakland county.

Gone are the seasonal events of autumn; the farmers markets are empty and the cider mills are closed. Winter is here and along with it has come the cold weather and early nightfalls that leave us missing the summer sun.

However, these early winter nights can be beautiful, especially as the holiday season approaches and the early dark begins to fill with lights that exude holiday magic.

Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo is the perfect place to find that holiday magic while you’re waiting for Santa Claus to make his appearance, so read on and start planning your holiday visit to the Detroit Zoo Lights.

Detroit Zoo Lights

The Magic of Detroit Zoo Lights

In Royal Oak, MI, the animals at the Detroit Zoo begin preparing for winter, which means inactivity and for some, even hibernation, but this doesn’t mean there isn’t fun to be had at the zoo.

For 40 magical nights Wild Lights, the Detroit Zoo’s annual holiday light display will become one of the most beautiful and popular holiday events in metro Detroit.

Millions of LED lights will illuminate the zoo, covering trees, buildings, and over 280 sculptures throughout the property, forming holiday light displays. This beautiful, bright, and unique setting is suited for anything from date night to a family-friendly outing.
See the lights at the Detroit Zoo this winter, complete with all the sights and sounds of the holiday season.

Wild Lights Details: What You Need to Know About the Detroit Zoo Lights

Check below for any and all information about this year’s Wild Lights show, including hours of operation, activities for kids, special packages, and more.

When is Wild Lights?

Hours vary depending on the day, expect to see select weeknights and Sundays open from 5-9 p.m., while weekends run later with hours from 5-10:30 p.m.

Detroit Christmas events

Features of Wild Lights

This year, guests can expect some new and returning features of the Wild Lights show that will enhance the magic of the Detroit Zoo during the holidays.

The Detroit Zoological Society is hosting the Wildlife Photography of the Year exhibition for its North American Premiere. This exhibition showcasing award-winning photography is a perfect fit for the Detroit Zoo and a must-see for any fans of photography, wildlife, or both. Admission to this event is included with Wild Lights tickets. Enjoy a look at beautiful animals in the wild and in nature centers across North America.

This year, Polar Patio Packages are back thanks to popular demand. This package includes admission to both the Wild Lights display and the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit, a private dining experience, all-you-can-eat food and dessert, hot cocoa in a souvenir cup, and access to a cash bar.

Wild Lights Ticket Information

To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, there is a capacity limit for the Wild Lights show. Purchase tickets in advance online or at the Detroit Zoo during daytime hours. Walk-up tickets are not available at the gate. To best guarantee your holiday fun, head online early to buy an advanced ticket and reserve a time slot.

Parking and Ticket Prices for Detroit Wild Lights

Ticket Prices for Wild Lights range based on date and time:

General admission to Wild Lights ranges from $17-$24

Polar Packages range from $30-$35

Children under 2 are admitted free

Parking is $8

Highlights and Favorites of Detroit Zoo Wild Lights
Walking through the tunnels of lights at the Detroit Zoo as the colors dance around you

Amazing and colorful animal sculptures made from LED lights

Breathtaking pictures of animals at the Wildlife Photography of the Year exhibition

Where is the Wild Lights show?

Wild Lights is a light show found at the Detroit Zoo, located at 8450 W 10 Mile Rd, Royal Oak MI.

How long does the Detroit Zoo Lights last?

The Detroit Zoo closes at 4 p.m. on Wild Lights days and the Wild Lights show begins at 5 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m. on weeknights & Sundays. On Fridays and Saturdays, Wild Lights runs from 5 -10:30 p.m.

How many lights does the Detroit Zoo have?

Wild Lights features 5 million LED lights on trees, buildings, and more than 280 sculptures on a path through the front half of the zoo.

How long does it take to get through the Wild Lights?

The Wild Lights display illuminates the front half of the Detroit Zoo. The loop takes around an hour to complete.

Do you see animals at Detroit Zoo Lights?

The Wild Lights event at the Detroit Zoo is an outdoor show; there will be no access to animal habitats during your Wild Lights experience with the exception of the Edwards Mardigan Sr. River Otter Habitat and Jane and Frank Warchol Beaver Habitat.


Bella DiMascio is a Content Editor at She grew up in the Detroit suburb of Westland and later attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo where she majored in Communication Studies and minored in English: Writing. Creative writing has been a hobby and interest of Bella’s since she was in elementary school and she is thrilled to be using her talents to highlight the Great Lakes State. Outside of writing, Bella enjoys getting outside with her two Australian Shepherds, playing video games, and binging shows on Netflix.