This annual tradition brings so much to the season. A stroll through Cosley Zoo in suburban DuPage County, a visit with the animals, the sounds and sights of the holiday plus that time to shop for trees, wreaths and decorations to deck your own halls.
The festival begins the day after Thanksgiving and runs through Dec. 30. The zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with the Christmas lights coming on at 3 p.m.
Admission to the festival is free, however timed entry reservations are required at cosleyzoo.org to comply with Restore Illinois Phase 4 guidelines. Because capacity at the zoo is limited, walk-up tickets will not be available.
All guests must enter at their reserved entry time. Early and late arrivals may not be able to be accommodated. Face coverings should be worn by all zoo visitors over the ages of 2 when at least 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained between non-household groups.
Cosley Zoo, located in Wheaton, will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day and open from 9 a.m. to noon on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
Guests can also enjoy a cup of hot chocolate while choosing a tree from a wide selection of Fraser firs, Canaan firs, Douglas Firs or Scotch Pines. The zoo will be adorned with animal-themed light displays and trees along Christmas Tree Lane decorated by local families, businesses and organizations.
The Wild Side Gift Shop will be stocked with a variety of unique gifts including children’s puzzles, games, holiday ornaments and gifts.
“2020 marks the 37th anniversary of the Festival of Lights, which has become a cherished holiday tradition for countless families. We feel tremendously fortunate to be able to add to the holiday spirit for so many people”, said Sue Wahlgren, director of Cosley Zoo.
The Festival of Lights is one of Cosley Zoo’s largest fundraisers each year. All of the profits from the sale of trees benefit the zoo’s important conservation and educational efforts as well as exhibit development and animal care.