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Woodland Park Zoo’s Holiday Lantern Festival Is Back for 2021

Tickets to WildLanterns are on sale now for Seattle-area families

Nancy Chaney

Published on: October 04, 2021

WildLanterns elephant lanterns at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo holiday light festival back for second year
Nancy Chaney

First off, kudos to the local attractions that have worked hard during this loooong pandemic to find creative ways to entertain us while also keeping a safe environment.

Even though kids and families likely have their sights set on Halloween at the moment, Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo has announced that its phenomenal holiday lantern festival will be back for 2021, and tickets are on sale now.


The zoo’s latest holiday light show is called WildLanterns and it features huge animal-shaped lanterns and habitat scenes for guests to experience. The display includes lanterns in the shape of Northwest animals such as eagles and bears, a showcase of rare animals such as gorillas, and a "SeaMazium" exhibit of seals, sea turtles and jellyfish. There's also a 15-foot-tall giraffe lantern! 

What to know about the zoo's holiday lantern show:

  • WildLanterns at Woodland Park Zoo runs Nov. 12, 2021–Jan. 30, 2022, 4–8:30 p.m. Closure dates are as follows: Mondays, except for Dec. 20 and 27, Nov. 25 (Thanksgiving day) and Dec. 24–25.
  • Tickets are on sale now. Book online.
  • The cost of tickets has increased a bit since last year. Tickets cost $30.95 for ages 13 and older; $25.95 for kids ages 3–12; and tots ages 2 and younger enter free. Zoo members receive a 20-percent discount. Parking costs $5. (While this is an expensive family outing, the funds go to support the zoo's animals and its conservation efforts.)
  • Tickets are timed-entry and available through advance purchase only.
  • Guests ages 5 and older must wear face coverings; guests ages 3–5 are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings.
  • New for 2021: All WildLanterns guests ages 12 and older must present proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative PCR test result (within 72 hours of ticket time).

More WildLanterns info for families:

  • Read our review of the inaugural WildLanterns show.
  • WildLanterns is an outdoor, walk-through, rain-or-shine experience. There will be no ticket refunds issued in the event of bad weather.
  • Food and beverages will be available for purchase, and guests are allowed to bring their own food if they wish (except alcohol). All food and drink must be consumed in designated areas.
  • The carousel and Zoomazium remain closed and will not be accessible during WildLanterns
  • The ZooStore (at the west entrance) will be open for WildLanterns guests.
  • WildLanterns, which debuted in 2020, replaces the zoo's previous holiday light show called WildLights.
  • The zoo is open for regular daytime visits, so kids can see their favorite animals; find out more by reading our writer’s review! (Note that daytime entry into the zoo is not included with a WildLanterns ticket, and likewise WildLanterns entry does not include daytime entry to the zoo.)  

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