Christmas festivals at zoos have become huge holiday attractions. In the Midwest alone, at least eighteen zoos celebrate with holiday lights, carols, animal shows, and even ice skating rinks. Brookfield Zoo, Chicago’s oldest holiday zoo event, is celebrating its 42nd year in 2023. But the very first zoo holiday lights event in the nation was Indianapolis Zoo’s Christmas at the Zoo, which dates back to 1967!
Many other zoos have hopped aboard the holiday festival train over the years. Here are a few highlights of eighteen Midwest zoo holiday lights events for 2023, listed by state: