Holiday Lights Spectacular

Holiday Lights Spectacular

Take a winter stroll through the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo this holiday season under the sparkling lights of over 50 winter and animal characters.

Celebrate the season of giving by bringing donations of non-perishable food items, new toys, and gently used coats.


5pm to 9pm

Friday, November 19 – Sunday, November 21

Friday, November 26 – Sunday, November 28

Friday, December 3 – Sunday, December 5

Nightly starting Friday, December 10 – Friday, December 31

(Closed Dec 24 & 25)

Carousel$ – Touch Tank – Reptile House – Farm – Pony Track $ – Train – Main Gift Shop$


Admission is FREE, Reservations are not required.


Food Options

  • Café open
  • S’mores (Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays only) – outside café
  • Pizza truck – by Africa Path
  • Coffee cart – by Train


All Zoo Rules apply during this special event which includes, but is not limited to: no pets, no smoking, visitors age 17 & under must be accompanied by a chaperone, power wheel & remote controlled devices are not permitted on grounds. For a complete list of FAQs, visit


updated as of 11/27/21

(with professional photo opportunity)
Location: Gazebo

Add a visit with Santa to your holiday list! Meet & Greet is free and personal photos are allowed. Option to purchase professional photos on site. No appointments necessary.

Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays
November 26 – 28
December 3 – 5
December 10 – 12

Daily: December 17 – 23


Location: Carousel Stage

Limited Nights! Ice Carving demonstrations on Saturdays: November 27, December 4, December 11 & December 18. Watch a block of ice transform into an ice sculpture before your eyes at our Carousel patio. Demonstrations take place during our Holiday Lights Spectacular event. 6pm -8pm.


“A Holiday Meal with our Sea Lions”
Location: Sea Lion Sound

Enjoy a Sea Lion feeding demonstration from our Sea Lion team featuring our Sea Lions JR, Zeus and joining us for his first TBZ Holiday… Porter!

Sundays @ 5:30pm


Temporary Tattoo Art
Location: Touch Tank


Vendor Link: Dee Works Face Paints Too


Location: Carousel Stage

Sing-a-long with popular princess characters. A mix of holiday songs (and princess songs) are sure to lift your holiday spirit! Performances at our Carousel Stage at 6pm and 7:30pm. Plan your trip now, these princess sing-a-longs are only available Sundays: December 5th, 12th and 19th!

Vendor Link: Perfect Princess Parties



Fridays: November 19, November 26, December 10, December 17

Location: Carousel Stage


“Don’t Be A GRINCH” Weekend

Friday, December 3rd – Saturday, December 4th – Sunday, December 5th

Location: Main Zoo Entrance

Meet-and-Greet with the Grinch!


Weekend Santa Visits
Train, Carousel, Reptile House, Essex Farm and Pony Rides OPEN


Friday, December 3 – Sunday, December 5
December 10 –  December 31
5pm to 9pm


FREE *Donation Recommended

Turtle Back Zoo

Visit us during the day from 10am to 3pm | Or join us for Holiday Lights from 5pm to 9pm, select nights only |*Tell me more about Holiday Lights*