One alternative to driving around aimlessly in search of holiday lights on houses is to hit the jackpot of lights at the Oakland Zoo.
Every evening from December 1 to January 1 (except for the 24th and 25th), the Oakland Zoo is open until 9 pm so that families may enjoy the animal-themed light show. In addition to neon-lit structures around the Zoo, the main meadow has display of animated lights which runs every 8 minutes or so. The children's zoo area also has a maze (think corn maze) that my kids enjoy.
In 2017, ZooLights is adding even more. Soar over the Oakland hills in the festively-lit gondolas and see the entire Bay Area like never before. Look for cool new laser light shows, too.
My children love seeing Santa Claus, running around the zoo in the dark, yelling, and riding the Outback Express train through the lit up night. And we've seen wallabies hopping around by moonlight!
It is can be chilly, especially if you choose to ride the train, so be sure to bundle up. Hot cocoa and s’mores are available at Flamingo Plaza at the Zoo’s main entrance. But don't tell my kids, they haven't noticed yet!
ZooLights is a separate event and is not included in regular Zoo membership.
Children (2-14) and Seniors (65-79): $9.00
Children under 2 and Adults over 80: FREE
Rides (even the train) still cost $$ but parking and gondola are free.
Members: Check your email for Free Member nights!
Santa is on hand for photos on some nights only. See the Oakland ZooLights webpage for Santa's schedule.
Photo Credit: Oakland Zoo Website; Stephen Woo via Visit Oakland