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Now open: IllumiNights at the Zoo

Atlanta’s newest seasonal experience will make its debut with a stunning visual celebration of the wonders of the natural world. IllumiNights at the Zoo: A Chinese Lantern Festival opens to the public on the evening of Monday, November 22, 2021. IllumiNights is presented by Georgia Power, with additional support from Beacon Sponsor PNC.

Zoo Atlanta has partnered with Hanart Culture to bring the lantern festival to Atlanta. After dark, guests will explore the Zoo, transformed – full of awe-inspiring vistas celebrating the inspirations of nature. Located in vignettes throughout Zoo grounds, more than 80 lanterns represent a host of creatures from the wild (and in one case, legendary) world, with flora and fauna including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, invertebrates, and plants – some life-sized, and some larger-than-life. Highlights include a 100-foot-long Chinese dragon and a 23-foot-tall jellyfish. Each lantern is made and hand-painted by artisans, representing thousands of hours of work. In keeping with Zoo Atlanta’s commitment to sustainability, each lantern also features environmentally-friendly LED lights.

“We could not be more thrilled to introduce this experience to our community this holiday season. IllumiNights is a magical walk through the Zoo as no one has ever seen it before,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO. “We believe this event will have a universal appeal. It’s an outdoor family outing, it’s an evening with friends, it’s a one-of-a-kind date night – there’s something for everyone. The lanterns are truly works of art, and importantly, they are breathtaking representations of the splendors of the wildlife and wild places that Zoo Atlanta’s mission dedicates us to preserving.”

In addition to the lantern experience, other amenities will also be available to IllumiNights guests. An interactive jump-pad of lights will be on in the KIDZone, and the Endangered Species Carousel will be open for rides. Select gift shops and food and beverage locations will be open for purchase of festival-inspired items. As a holiday highlight for ages 21 and up, IllumiNights patrons will also have a chance to try Airing of Grievances, a limited-release offering from Marietta-based Treehorn Cider. IllumiNights will be the only location in Atlanta where the cider, which is infused with cranberry and holiday spices, will be available on tap.

IllumiNights will continue through Sunday, January 16, 2022, and will be open from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. nightly (last entry at 8:30 p.m.) with the exception of select dates, including Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Capacity is limited, and advance timed reservations are strongly recommended. Visit for reservations, information, and answers to frequently asked questions about the event.

Zoo Atlanta Members enjoyed access to a Member-only preview of the event from November 18 through November 21, and will continue to enjoy a Member discount on reservations through the course of IllumiNights. IllumiNights is a separate ticketed event and is not included in regular daytime general admission.


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