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Utica Zoo unveils Bright Nights for the Holiday Season

Utica, NY-The Greater Mohawk Valley is starting to shine with the upcoming Holiday Season and the Utica Zoo will be adding to the joyful opportunities for families to make memories!

The zoo is introducing Bright Nights at the Utica Zoo, presented by Baird, and will launch on Friday, November 27th from 5-8 pm and run each Thursday through Sunday until January 3rd. (except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve)

The zoo’s extended hours will offer nearly a dozen large light displays such as penguin pond, jolly snow family and farming elves invoking the joy of the season through traditional and fun holiday scenes. Animation, bright lights, caroling, fireside pauses, hot drinks, food trucks and more will be enjoyed by all and is included with regular zoo admission.

The evening wouldn’t be complete without the jolly man in the red suit; Santa Claus will be at the zoo nightly along with a giant mailbox for letters to Santa. Santa will collect the letters each night at 6:30 in his sack and on December 20th, he’ll take them away with the help of the Utica Fire Department. At 6:45, the reading Twas the Night Before Christmas will be offered; limited numbers available each night and although included in admission, reservations will be required.

The Tree Top Gift Shop at the Utica Zoo will offer new merchandise for unique gift giving, the zoo’s winter snowshoe program will be promoted and if snow, offered, and zoo animal adoption and gift-tag trees will be scattered throughout the zoo.

Bright Nights is sponsored thus far by Baird, Bank of Utica, One Realty, First Source Federal Credit Union, McDonald’s, BME, Empower Federal Credit Union, Caruso and McLean Investments, NBT Bank, Mohawk Valley Wellness, AMP Medical Associates. Sponsorship packages and various volunteer opportunity signups are available by contacting

  • Admission is $8.00 for adults, $5.00 for children 2-12 and military and seniors over 62 at $6.75
  • Members get 50% off their first purchase of tickets for those listed on their membership using their member ID number.
  • Purchases can include multiple dates
  • Pre-purchase of tickets is suggested and available on our website

The zoo will maintain its COVID19 precautions to insure the safety of the animals, visitors and staff and to comply with NYS’s Executive Order; capacity will be limited to 500 visitors on zoo grounds, masks will be required at all times and guests will visit the zoo in routes that ensure social distancing.   To learn more visit or call 315–738-0472 and to stay up to date on all that’s happening

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