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Chinese Lantern Festival lights up the holiday season starting November 16

ATLANTA – October 5, 2023 – One of Atlanta’s newest holiday light traditions returns with a stunning contemplation of the wonders of the natural world at IllumiNights at the Zoo presented by Georgia Power. Tickets are now on sale for the experience, which opens on November 16, 2023, and continues through January 14, 2024. IllumiNights is made possible with support from Beacon Sponsor SouthState Bank, with additional support from Kaiser Permanente.

After dark, guests will explore nature’s beauty in lights in a nighttime wonderland. From fierce to fun to fanciful – from luminous leopards to a soaring Pegasus – the sights along a mile-long stroll feature more than 200 hand-crafted and hand-painted lanterns. All-new lanterns are introduced annually, making this an experience that changes year over year for fresh new holiday memories.

Adding to the festive spirit will be warm beverages such as cocoa and cider (hot adult beverages available for ages 21 and up); marshmallow toasting; and magical rides on the Endangered Species Carousel. Festival-inspired snacks and meal options will be available for purchase at select concession locations.

NEW in 2023: IllumiNights guests will have a chance to soar snow-capped mountains with Elf Power Inc., a holiday virtual reality experience. Elf Power Inc. is presented in partnership with Immotion and will be offered at the Zoo’s new Gorilla Trek VR Theater. Also new in 2023 is an option to purchase a refillable souvenir hot beverage cup to keep the IllumiNights stroll cozy and warm. Both are available as add-ons when purchasing tickets online for the event.  

While most animals go indoors for the night, a select few species who typically spend time in their habitats after dark may be visible. These may include giant pandas (indoor dayroom habitats), Chilean flamingos, and Huacaya alpacas.

Zoo Atlanta Members receive a discount on IllumiNights tickets throughout the run of the event, but will enjoy an additional exclusive discount during Member Preview Nights, November 16 through November 19. The event will be open from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (last entry at 8 p.m.) with the exception of select dates, including Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Due to limited capacity, advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended.

IllumiNights is a separate ticketed event and is not included in regular daytime general admission. Learn more and reserve tickets here on

Rachel Davis
Director of Communications
404.624.2812 – office

Gavin Johnson
Public Relations and Communications Specialist
404.624.5980 – office

About Zoo Atlanta
A proud accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the gold standard for animal care and welfare, Zoo Atlanta has a mission to save wildlife and their habitats through conservation, research, education, and engaging experiences. The Zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals representing more than 200 species from around the world, many of them endangered or critically endangered. Highlights include giant pandas, including Ya Lun and Xi Lun, the only giant panda twins in the U.S.; one of North America’s largest zoological populations of great apes; and a global center of excellence for the care and study of reptiles and amphibians. Recent transformations include the African Savanna, featuring new and expanded habitats for African elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, bontebok, warthogs, meerkats and rhinos; Savanna Hall, a state-of-the-art special event destination in the newly restored historic former home of the Atlanta Cyclorama; and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Plaza. For more information, visit

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