Christmas in the Wild

Lights, Lights, & More Lights

A flurry of fun for everyone

Select Nights November 25 - December 30

String of Christmas lights

It’s the most wonderful time of the year at ZooTampa with the return of Christmas in the Wild, featuring one of Tampa Bay’s largest light displays, delectable holiday treats, amazing wildlife and new festive adventures. This year is BIGGER, better, and brighter than ever, with festive entertainment that the whole family will enjoy.

ZooTampa Members and Pay For A Day ticket holders get free admission to seasonal events like Christmas in the Wild.

String of Christmas lights

Experience Christmas at the Zoo with:

Joyful child wearing Christmas tree glasses in the Holiday Kaleidoscope tunnel at ZooTampa

Cheerful Realms

Experience the magic of the holiday with immersive realms full of twinkling lights, cheerful music, and joyous surprises.

Forest of Fantasy Ice Queen

Merry Shows

Holiday cheer is everywhere with fun and interactive family shows and festive entertainment throughout the Zoo.

An elephant eats a pumpkin

Jolly Animal Experiences

Celebrate the season with some unique and holiday-theme animal experiences throughout the Zoo.

A girl holds a plate with cake on it

Festive Treats & Drinks

Indulge in tasty treats and delicious drinks as you experience twinkling lights and joyful entertainment.

String of Christmas lights

Proudly presented by

Morgan Chevrolet logo
Publix Super Markets Charities logo
Coca-Cola Beverages Florida logo
String of Christmas lights

Christmas in the Wild Admission

ZooTampa Members' Tickets


Pay for a Day Ticket


General Admission
Event tickets

$29.95 after 4PM

*The reservation fee for ZooTampa members and Pay For A Day ticket holders is $5 per person which will be reimbursed upon entry in the form of a $5 per person voucher valid for dining and merchandise purchases valid for that day only. Pay for Day, Come Back All Year” tickets holders may only purchase reservations for themselves.
Click here to request changes to an existing reservation

Make Your Experience More Magical

Young girl petting a penguin during a Penguin Encounter

Holiday Signature Animal Encounters

Add more WILD to the season with our Holiday Signature Encounters. On all event nights, you can meet a member of our penguin colony or get up-close with our amazing Indian rhino family. PLUS when you purchase a Holiday Signature Encounter, you can enter Christmas in the Wild as early as 4pm!

Guest must have a Christmas in the Wild ticket to participate in all Holiday Signature Encounters. Holiday African Penguin Encounter will be offered on event nights only at 4:45pm and 5pm. Holiday Indian Rhino Encounter will be offered on event nights only at 6pm. Separate ticket required for all encounters. Guests must be ages 5 and up and children 5-17 must be accompanied by an adult.

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Young boy posing for a picture with Santa

Breakfast with Santa

Saturday, 12/10 - Sold Out
Saturday, 12/17

Have a jolly good time with Santa, his friends Pippsy Penguin and Sam the Snowman from the North Pole, and his Florida helpers, Manny T and Flora! Celebrate the season with a festive breakfast that is sure to create magical memories for the entire family with special meet and greets, one-of-a-kind animal interactions, and photo opportunities!

Start a new Christmas tradition with Holiday Breakfast with Santa at ZooTampa! Stay tuned for details on the delectable special menu!

ZooTampa and Christmas in the Wild admission is not included with the Holiday Breakfast with Santa. ZooTampa members and Pay for a Day ticket holders are welcome to explore the Zoo after the event. Need admission to ZooTampa? Click here to purchase Zoo admission or become a Member.

Doors will open at 8:30am and will conclude at 10am. Seating is first-come, first-served. This is a rain or shine event and will take place outdoors under our Saunders Pavilion.Photos will be available for purchase, but guests are welcome to take photos with their own devices.

For dietary restrictions and other special requests, please contact our Guest Engagement team at .

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Separate ticket needed for these experiences

Event Dates


Give a gift that’s WILD! ZooTampa Memberships are the perfect gift for the adventure-seekers in your life. As a Member, your loved ones can visit again and again and make unforgettable connections with wildlife and each other!

Family taking a photo with a Christmas Tree during Christmas in the Wild

Know Before You Go

Download our App

Don’t miss out on the excitement; access all of our event details from the palm of your hands! Get walking directions to all of the event locations, view the nightly show schedule, and more.

Download for Apple »Download for Android »

View Our Foodie Guide

Preview our Christmas in the Wild Foodie Guide and know what special winter-themed delicacies are available and where to find them.

See the Foodie Guide »

Preview Event Map

Take a look at our print map and see the scare levels for each zone and show. All content available on the print map is also available on the mobile app.

View the Event Map »

View Our Gift Guide

We have curated a Holiday Gift Guide for your favorite animal lover from Gift Memberships to personalized messages, and more! With this guide you can shop for exciting gifts that support ZooTampa.

View Gift Guide »

Important Info:

Tickets & Reservations:


You must purchase an event ticket for every member in your party except for guests 2 years of age and under, who are admitted free. On your selected date of visit, you must present your CITW ticket(s), which will be emailed to you. Prices listed are per person and do not include service fees. Not valid with any other discount.


Entry to this event is limited; advanced purchased tickets and reservations are strongly encouraged and the only way to guarantee admission.

There is a $5 reservation fee for Members and Pay for a Day ticket holders, which is returned in the form of a voucher that can be used for food or merchandise purchases on the evening of the event. By instituting a small fee that’s returned upon entry in the form of a voucher, it allows us to bring this wonderful event to as many people as we can, in a safe and efficient manner while removing any uncertainty of entry for our valued Members and Pay for a Day ticket holders.


Vouchers are valid only on the date of your CITW reservation and are not valid during daytime hours. Vouchers may not be used for photography, calligraphy letter painting, caricatures, face painting, Frosty cart by Wendys, and Kona Ice. The $5 vouchers must be used in a single transaction. No change or credit will be given. Multiple vouchers may be used in a single transaction. Vouchers have no cash value. Purchases made with this voucher are non-refundable.


ZooTampa is principally an outdoor fresh-air experience; therefore, when outside on zoo grounds, guests who maintain proper social distancing are not required to wear facemasks.

We courteously encourage guests to wear masks at our indoor venues, which includes retail shops, restrooms, restaurants and Manatee Mangrove.

For the safety of our performers, we ask that all guests refrain from touching our performers and maintain a distance of 3ft from them at all times, which includes visits and photos with Santa.


Please do not arrive before your ticketed time; you will not be admitted entry to the park before your ticketed time, or on any other date than the event night selected. No readmission. Please enter the event within the 30-minute window of your reservation.


CITW is a rain or shine event. Tickets and reservations are non-refundable. Operating hours, products, attractions, services, and schedules are subject to change without notice. CITW may be cancelled due to weather that poses a safety hazard. Guests will be notified via the email provided during the reservation/ticketing process of any changes to event scheduling. Due to the limited nature of this event, no changes can be made to your tickets/reservations within 72 hours of your scheduled event date/time. Rescheduling is subject to availability. To make a change to your ticket/reservation, please request a reservation change using this form or call 813-935-8552 ext. 0 at least 72 hours before your scheduled event date/time.


This is a limited attendance event. Date and time-specific tickets and reservations are the only way to guarantee admission. Please make your reservation or purchase your ticket before arriving to the Zoo. Walk-Ups will only be accepted if the event date is not sold out.