Lincoln Park Zoo's annual ZooLights celebration to return in November, tickets required

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A holiday tradition in Chicago will go on as planned this winter amid other cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lincoln Park Zoo's annual ZooLights celebration will return starting November 20, the zoo announced Thursday.

However, the zoo said due to a loss of revenue because of the pandemic the event will not be free.

"Despite the loss of revenue this year brought on by the pandemic, we couldn't fathom a Chicago winter without the joy of ZooLights," said Zoo Director Megan Ross, Ph.D. "The pandemic has left us financially vulnerable. We are so grateful to our sponsors, ComEd and Invesco QQQ, for helping cover the cost of producing ZooLights, but unfortunately we are not in a position to staff and operate the extended hours with the limited capacity of visitors required based on state guidelines without some public investment. We are charging a nominal admission in order to help us break even and still bring this beloved holiday tradition to the zoo."

Tickets will cost $5 per person. Capacity will also be limited each day to keep up with CDC social distancing guidelines, the zoo said.

Tickets for zoo members will go on sale September 24 and tickets for the general public will open at 10 a.m. on October 1.

To accommodate all families, zoo officials said there will still be five free nights open to the public during the season.

"The zoo values being free to all when we can, and we understand many Chicagoans are facing financial difficulties as well. As such, five nights of ZooLights will remain free for the public to attend," Ross said.

In addition to ZooLights, residents can also participate in several other holiday activities throughout the season both at home and at the zoo including Free Members-Only Nights (Nov. 20 and Dec. 1), Virtual ZooLights Challenge (beginning Nov. 27), Adults Night Out: Holidaze! (Dec. 10), and Chris White Trio Tribute to "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (Dec. 13).

A full schedule of holiday events can be found at lpzoo.org/events.
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