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Enjoy the Lights of the New Year at Atlanta Zoo’s Illuminights Chinese Lantern Festival

by Eugenia Lazaris

Jan 1, 2024

© Robhainer | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

Zoos are always a great way to spend a day with the family. Whether at home or exploring a new city and this holiday season, Zoo Atlanta gives everyone even more reason to love Atlanta with the Illuminights Chinese Lantern Festival. With Lunar New Year right around the corner, this holiday celebration is just in time to keep the magic of the season going.


On select nights until Jan.14, visitors to Zoo Atlanta can enjoy a nighttime Chinese lantern display transforming the zoo into a magical world. Giant lighted animals, plants, flowers and even a few imaginary creatures like dragons and a phoenix create a beautiful display of colorful light among the plants and animals living at the zoo.


Many of the zoo’s inhabitants are not out for viewing at night, but this festival offers visitors a unique opportunity to see the select few animals that aren’t typically seen during the day, along with those that like to remain in their outdoor habitats at night, like the zoo’s giant pandas and Huacaya alpacas. Each of the zoo’s areas include colorful lantern displays along the 1-mile loop through the Asian Forest, African Rainforest and African Savanna.


During your visit you and the little ones can keep warm with a cup of hot cocoa (along with something a little harder for adults) or a good old-fashioned marshmallow roast by the fire. Just be sure to stop by the S’mores Station by the Grand Patio. General admission tickets for the event run $21–25 for adults, $18 to $20 for children ages 3–11, and are free for children 2 and under.


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