Ideas to delight and transform have included skating rinks, laser shows, and hot chocolate and marshmallows served around a fire.
The trend in recent years is for zoo light displays to become more environmentally friendly with the use of LED lighting. Zoos that allow access to the animal enclosures during the light displays are particularly popular with kids.
Yearly zoos vie for top spot on the best zoo light display rankings. Receiving the coveted number one position is an honor and means nationwide coverage for the zoo.
Zoo light displays that are best for kids feature an appearance from Santa and maybe even a reindeer or two. Other favorite features at zoo light displays for kids are rides and skating rinks; some zoos cover the cost of these in the entry fee, others charge an additional fee.
The winning zoo light display in 2016, the Light Before Christmas at Toledo Zoo, was very popular with children. The nightly event featured bumper cars on ice, a talking Fir tree, and an ice slide.
The lights measuring nearly 70 miles, took two months to take down. During the period of the zoo lights, they made over 2,700 pounds of fudge, 6,800 gallons of hot chocolate, more than 7,400 pretzels, and decorated over 8,900 cookies.
Los Angeles Zoo lights display saw giant animals made of lights dotted around the zoo as well as having laser shows and a water show.
At the Smithsonian National Zoo children could ride the solar powered carousel while learning about zoo research and visit the nocturnal house.
Phoenix Zoo light display had a touch tank of aquatic animals for children to enjoy as well as 3D light sculptures and camel rides.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has an exciting safari to delight children as well as festive lights and warming fires lit throughout the zoo to help people stay warm.
The Indianapolis Zoo was the first to hold a zoo light display in 1967. They have a 3D cinema, rides for children and carolers. St. Louis Zoo light display, with half a million lights, boasts a Gingerbread Village, Butterfly Garden, Swan Lake and Starry Safari.
They also offer visitors the chance to visit the polar bear, enjoy fireside stories and mingle with costumed characters.
The Detroit Zoo features over five million LED lights, a $D theater, live entertainment, and craft activities for children. Riverbanks Zoo light display features animated images, a bonfire and a dancing Christmas tree as well as access to indoor animal exhibits.
No doubt there is a lot of time left before Christmas, but zoos across America are already planning how to make their 2017 Zoo light display even more impressive than last years. Make your plans by mapping out city light displays or zoo lights and most of all enjoy your time watching all the lights.