On Saturday, November 17, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden will open their gates for the 25th “silver” anniversary of Lights Before Christmas. This can’t-miss event has been a holiday tradition for many families in the Midlands since 1987. Every year the preparations start a little earlier and the lights shine a little brighter spreading the Christmas spirit throughout Columbia. Guests will enjoy wandering around the Zoo paths basking in the glow of approximately 500,000 strands of twinkling, energy-saving lights and countless animated holiday images. The dancing lights display that syncs with popular holiday music will be standing tall in front of the Aquarium-Reptile Complex this year, close to the Zoo’s Palmetto Plaza, home of the Jingle Bell Bonfire. Hot cocoa, marshmallows and other festive foods are available for purchase and roasting.
Of course, no visit to the Lights Before Christmas is complete without Santa Claus. He will be making nightly visits to Riverbanks Zoo through December 23rd, so be sure to come with your wish list! Also, don’t forget your camera because this year there is a special opportunity for guests to walk inside a 15-foot, life-sized snow globe – you won’t want to miss it.
The lights will be twinkling from 6 to 9 pm every evening from November 17 until December 30, with closings on Thanksgiving, November 22, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Guests who purchase tickets in advance will receive a $2 discounted rate of $8 for adults and $6 for kids ages 3-12; children under 2 years old are admitted free. Riverbanks Zoo Members receive one free visit to The Lights Before Christmas with a valid membership card; guest passes are not accepted. General admission tickets can be purchased online at www.riverbankszoo.org or at any Riverbanks ticket booth. Parking for the event will be on the Zoo side only. This event is made possible by One Main Financial.
Start your own family tradition by joining us this year at Riverbanks Zoo. Don’t forget your hat, this year the Zoo has 600 gallons of artificial snow to make your Lights at the Zoo experience truly special. No matter what the forecast calls for, Riverbanks is the only place in town where it snows every night.