Fresno Zoo Lights

Fresno Zoo Lights takes place at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo over several nights throughout the winter holiday season.

I think what might be a bit of a best-kept secret around Fresno is a really cool event that has been going on over at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo for quite a few years. It’s Fresno Zoo Lights, which takes place over several nights through the holiday period. It’s a special admission event where you can stroll through the grounds of the zoo at night and take in all the brilliant lighting displays the staff has set up there. Although most of the animals have gone night-night by evening time, the colorful lights, themed music and other entertainment transforms the zoo into a winter wonderland worth a look.

Although it’s cold outside as it often is this time of year,the folks at the zoo are right there to offer hot cocoa, cookies, churros and pizza specials to keep you warmed up while you take in the spectacle. I believe you can get a cup of cocoa and a cookie for free! If you’re like me, you might want to sip it while enjoying the fire at the Kopje Lodge.

Of course, Santa Claus is there to take pictures with the kids and listen to their Christmas wishes. And, as usual, Taman the Zoo’s tiger mascot is around. This year there’s a new but familiar face joining in on the fun:  A full-costumed Pikachu is there to point out special Pokémon Go PokeStops to help you catch ’em all. I started playing that game on my phone last summer and I think the zoo has got to be the perfect place to get your pocket monster fix.

Also on the grounds is a cool snow machine to help you feel even colder than it really is. For an extra $2 you can view the lights with something called HoloSpex holographic glasses.

This is a really cool event and something fun to do with the family during the holidays. I’d put it right up there with Christmas Tree Lane as an event you’ve got to do every year. Zoo Lights goes on over a bunch of dates beginning in November until December 30. Check the zoo’s website for further information and to purchase tickets on the dates that work for you.