This is the 25th season
for the Lights Before Christmas, which
features over one million lights and more than 200 lights
spectacle known as the Dancing Lights and the 85-foot Norway
Spruce are decorated with all wide angle LED lights.
Before Christmas began in 1986 with 50,000 lights and an
attendance of 71,000 visitors; the record attendance for
a Lights Before Christmas season was 2006, with 178,177
using LED lights in 2002 and now approximately 50% of our
lights are LEDs.
begins hanging lights during the first week of September
each year (See video on this page).
are used to hang lights -- draping and wrapping.
crew of 12-15 employees from the Zoo's Grounds Department
install the lights.
50,000 feet of extension cords are used -- that's almost
the lights were strung end-to-end, they would reach nearly
approximately 2 months to take down all the lights, then
sort and store them for the following year.
Over 2,700 pounds of fudge
will be made during "Lights Before Christmas,
along with over 6,800 gallons of hot chocolate, more than
6,000 cinnamon pretzels, and over 3,800 gingerbread men.
Visit Santa's Ginormous
Toyland located in the historic Indoor Theatre (through
Also, don't miss strolling
carolers on selected evenings, ice-carving demonstrations
on Thursday nights, rides on the train and carousel, a model
train display, and hot chocolate and other holiday treats!
Big Tree Stats:
- The Big Tree is a Norway spruce located near the Broadway
entrance by the Conservatory
- It's between 65-70 years old and over 85 feet tall.
- The lowest branches from tip-to-tip are 50' in diameter.
- The trunk circumference is 8 feet 7 inches.
- It is estimated to weigh about 7 tons.
- There are over 30,000 lights on the Big Tree alone, that's
almost 3 miles of lights!
- It takes approximately one week to decorate the tree.
Months of Preparation lead up to The Lights Before Christmas:
The video above shows members of the Grounds-Facilities Department starting work on the lights in the Fall, several months before opening day.