Lincoln Park Zoo's 26th annual ZooLights will return this year as a ticketed event, the Chicago zoo announced.
“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, in a statement.
ZooLights tickets are $5 per person and go on sale Sept. 24 for zoo members and 10 a.m. Oct. 1 for the general public. All ages must have a ticket to enter the event.
Free nights will occur on select nights -- Nov. 24, and Dec. 9, 17, 21 and 29 -- but will still require reservations. Reservations will be released at 4 p.m. on the Sunday prior to the event date, according to the zoo.
Ross said the coronavirus pandemic has left Lincoln Park Zoo "financially vulnerable," and even with sponsor help, "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," she said.
ZooLights will run from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Nov. 21-23, 25, 27-30, Dec. 2, 4-8, 11-16, 18-20, 22-23, 26-28, 30-31, and Jan. 1-3, according to the zoo.
According to the zoo's description, ZooLights encourages visitors to "enjoy a twinkling winter wonderland complete with festive activities, such as socially-distant visits with Santa, a holiday pop-up bar, an Enchanted Forest, Light Maze Presented by Invesco QQQ, sweet treats of all kinds, and much more."