Houston Zoo Lights Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest – Image Credit: Houston Zoo Facebook Page

See the Houston Zoo in a whole new light! TXU Energy Presents Zoo Lights returns to the Houston Zoo beginning November 15, 2021 through January 9, 2022, with two million Christmas lights illuminating throughout the area. We have your full guide to 2021 Houston Zoo lights dates, times, coupons, discounts, and more below!

Houston Zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland each night from 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm. Last entry is at 9:30 pm, so if you show up after that, you won’t be able to get in to see the display.

Zoo Lights in Houston 2021 – Are They Worth It?

Houston Zoo Lights are definitely a fun experience for the entire family. You’ll enjoy colorful Christmas light displays, festive holiday music, strolling carolers and nightly performances, hot chocolate, and more.  A cold weather night makes it even more festive!

Some of the highlights for the 2021 season are as follows (from the Houston Zoo website)

  • Experience the Holiday Grove presented by TXU Energy with animal-themed lanterns and hundreds of glowing flowers under the great oak trees wrapped in winter lights.
  • See the Great Ape Gallery transformed into an Illuminated Ocean presented by H-E-B, a glowing underwater adventure. This immersive experience takes you “underwater” as you walk under illuminated jellyfish and other sea creatures overhead.
  • Take a photo in front of the NEW 33’ tall color-changing holiday tree.
  • Walk under a canopy of glowing flowers and butterflies in the hanging pollinator garden.
  • Stroll through a 125-foot-long Infinity Tunnel of Light.
  • See “snow” in Texas and explore Winter Wonderland presented by Houston Methodist.
  • Take a photo with Santa as he prepares for the holidays in his workshop at Twiga Café.

Special events for 2021 include Sensory Friendly Night (December 6). On this night specially designed for guests with sensory sensitivities & their families, guests can expected quieter music, limited flashing lights and two designated quiet areas. 

Houston Zoo Lights 2021 – Coupons and Discount Tickets

Zoo Lights is separate admission from the Houston Zoo. Remember that the animals will be sleeping while the zoo Christmas lights are on, so visit during the day to enjoy them! Check out Admission Discounts To The Houston Zoo! 

During Zoo Lights, the zoo closes early and re-opens at 5:30 pm for the magical light display. It’s one of the most popular places to see Christmas lights in Houston.


Ticket pricing is dynamic that’s different nearly every single day. Additionally, tickets must be purchased online as no tickets will be sold at the gate.

Mondays through Thursdays still offer the cheapest admission (anywhere from roughly $22 depending on the date of the month and time of the day), and Fridays through Sundays are the most expensive (prices range up to $32.95). If you’re able to wait until after the New Year to see the lights, prices drop steeply with admission getting as low as $14.20 some nights. You can see the pricing for each specific day here.

The Houston Zoo encourages you to “buy early for the best price” and reminds guests that no tickets will be sold at the gate this year.

Ticket Discounts

There is a 20% discount admission for military, first responders, and teachers throughout Zoo Lights season! Limit up to 4 tickets

Also, if you’re a member of the Houston Zoo, you can log in to purchase through the website and get tickets at a lower price.

Here’s a pro tip — to get the lowest prices, go after the holidays. The pricing drops drastically from January 4-9, and the crowds are sure to be thinner during that time too, making the overall experience more enjoyable and cheaper.

Zoo Lights in Houston – Dates & Hours

Houston Zoo Lights runs nightly from November 15, 2021 through January 9, 2022 at 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm. Last entry is at 9:30 pm, so plan accordingly, and remember to show up at the time on your reservation.

Houston Zoo Lights Parking

Parking can be tricky on busy nights. The zoo suggests arriving after 8 pm versus 5 pm to find more parking availability. Check out the map of all Hermann Park parking lot areas, including the lot in front of the Houston Zoo. On weekend nights (Zoo Lights is one of the most popular things to do in Houston on weekends during the holiday season), the South Extension parking lot is available for $7 per car at 7100 William C. Harvin — Entrance 35. This includes a free shuttle back and forth to the zoo.

Or ride the METROrail to the Hermann Park/Rice U Station (Fannin and Sunset) and walk through the main zoo entrance. Lyft is another option as the official transportation partner of Houston Zoo. Download the app and request a driver for your route.

Learn more about Zoo Lights on their site here. And if you’re looking for more holiday fun around the city, check out our homepage for more cheap things to do in Houston every day.


Check out our updated roundup of the Best Christmas Lights in the Houston area for 2021

Looking for Christmas Trees? Our updated post on Best Places For Christmas Trees In And Around Houston is all you need! 

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