Daily News

The Zoo in Forest Park to Open During Bright Nights Tonight

SPRINGFIELD — While The Zoo in Forest Park officially closed its gates for the season in early November, it will open for one more night during this year’s Bright Nights.

Tonight, Dec. 14, the zoo will open from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Not all parts of the Zoo will be accessible due to snow and ice, but many animals will still be visible. The event features animal interactions, holiday lighting, free hot cider, and a visit from Santa himself.

For those who have never experienced the Zoo in winter, this is a great opportunity to see how the animals — and the staff — handle winter weather conditions. All animals at the Zoo have access to shelter, with some structures offering full heat for those animals that require a warmer climate.

This is the second Zoo Night at Bright Nights scheduled for this year; on the first night, Dec. 7, the Zoo welcomed more than 200 visitors.

The Zoo is not affiliated with the Spirit of Springfield or Bright Nights. While the Zoo is thrilled to be collaborating with this amazing organization, guests are reminded that entrance into Bright Nights is a separate cost, charged by Spirit of Springfield, per vehicle, in advance at www.brightnights.org. This is not a fee imposed or collected by the Zoo.

The cost for entry into the Zoo, to be paid at its ticket booth, is $5 for adults without an active 2022 zoo membership, and $3 for adults with a 2022 zoo membership. Children 12 and under, as well as military families with active IDs, are admitted at no cost.

The Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center is an independent, private nonprofit governed by the Forest Park Zoological Society. Several years ago, the Zoo moved away from the traditional zoo model to instead focus on education, conservation, and education. Now, more than 90% of the animals that call the Zoo their home have been deemed non-releasable due to age, injury, or disability.