Drive and Shine! Dallas Zoo Lights Returns As Drive-Thru Event

Elephant covered in silk
: Majestic animal-themed lanterns at Dallas Zoo Lights in Nov. 2019. /Dallas Zoo

Stay In Your Car & Enjoy The Sparkling Lights

DALLAS (October 26, 2020) – The Dallas Zoo’s beloved holiday tradition, Dallas Zoo Lights Presented by Reliant, is back, and with a safe and socially distant twist! This year’s event has been reimagined as a drive-thru, allowing guests to enjoy the Dallas Zoo’s brand of holiday cheer without leaving the comfort of their vehicle.


On 36 select nights from November 20 through January 3, guests are invited to drive through a winter wonderland at the Dallas Zoo, featuring over one million sparkling lights and elaborate lighted displays. The more than one-mile-long driving path will take guests on a winding route through areas of the Zoo that have not been open to the public for years, and then through ZooNorth and back out the Zoo’s front entrance.


To allow the Zoo to control traffic and to try to minimize the wait for guests, this year’s event does require a separate timed ticket that must be purchased online in advance. When purchasing tickets, guests can choose a window of time for their entry and are asked to arrive at the Zoo during that window so they can join the queue for the drive-thru.


“Despite this year being one of the most challenging we’ve ever faced, we felt we had to find a way to deliver on what already has become a must-see holiday tradition for so many North Texans. With a few adjustments, we’ve been able to reinvent Dallas Zoo Lights Presented by Reliant as a safe, socially distant drive-thru experience,” said Gregg Hudson, Dallas Zoo president and CEO. “We’re so grateful that our presenting sponsor Reliant is as excited about this drive-thru concept as we are, and we’re thankful to have their support as we roll out something new this holiday season.”


The Zoo has created themed vignettes along the drive-thru path, showcasing silk-covered animal lanterns on a safari of lights, Santa’s candy cane lane, and a trio of penguins on an Antarctic adventure! Between vignettes, guests will be surrounded by light-wrapped trees, overhead and hanging lighted decor, and 2D and 3D animal and holiday displays.

Pre-Order Holiday Goodies For The Drive

Additionally, guests can pre-order a gift bag full of holiday goodies to share among their car full of family and friends – in the form of hot chocolate in festive souvenir cups, popcorn, and other holiday sweets – that will be delivered to their car window as they wait to enter. The Zoo also will provide a holiday soundtrack that guests can tune into via AM radio and enjoy as they travel along the drive-thru path.


“At Reliant, lighting up the holidays is what we do best, and we love sharing the joy of the season with the Dallas-Fort Worth community,” said Elizabeth Killinger, president, Reliant. “We’re thrilled the Zoo created this unique way to get in the holiday spirit.”


Guests will notice some differences in this year’s Dallas Zoo Lights Presented by Reliant:

  • Obviously, it’s a drive-thru event! The Dallas Zoo is open for normal Zoo visits from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and then the new drive-thru version of Dallas Zoo Lights Presented by Reliant opens at 6:30 p.m.
  • Dallas Zoo Lights Presented by Reliant is designed to let guests drive through parts of the Zoo to see holiday lights AFTER most of our animals have gone to bed for the night. Animals will not be viewable along the drive-thru path.
  • This year’s event is not included with Zoo admission. A separate timed-entry ticket for Dallas Zoo Lights Presented by Reliant must be purchased online in advance of your visit.
  • The Reliant Holiday Village located outside at the end of the drive-thru gives guests the opportunity to park, walk around while still social distancing, take part in lighted photo ops, and enjoy another holiday beverage (or let the kids burn off some energy) before heading home.

Dallas Zoo lights map

A special pre-sale for Dallas Zoo members starts Monday, November 2, and then all remaining tickets go on sale Thursday, November 5.

Dallas Zoo Lights Tickets

Dallas Zoo members receive a $15 discount on their admission ticket, so Dallas Zoo Lights admission is $50 per car for members. General Dallas Zoo Lights event tickets at $65 per car.

WHAT:              Dallas Zoo Lights Presented by Reliant


WHEN:              Select nights, Nov. 20 through Jan. 3 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. each night


WHERE:            Dallas Zoo Main Entrance

650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway (I-35E) | Dallas, TX 75203


TICKETS:           Ticket pre-sale for Dallas Zoo members starts November 2; remaining tickets go on sale on November 5. Admission to the event is $50 per car for Dallas Zoo members; $65 per car for the general public. Timed-entry tickets must be purchased online in advance of your visit. For tickets and a full schedule of events, visit

Follow the most recent news about the Dallas Zoo on: