Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Holiday celebrations return to San Diego Zoo and SDZ Safari Park

For 2021, Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo and Wild Holidays at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park offer holiday experiences. Both events will treat guests to views of amazing wildlife, twinkling lights, live performances, holiday music and more.

Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo

Jungle Bells will treat guests to lights, entertainment, holiday music and, of course, views of some wildlife — including reptiles, lemurs, baboons, reindeer and more.

Visitors to Jungle Bells can witness “Aurora,” a visual and sound experience that weaves 3D projections, music and light. Friendly mythical wind, water and ice sprites share their stories, as well as the power of nature contained within their mystical orbs. As the performance comes to a dramatic conclusion, the Aurora Borealis appears — the only time it has been seen in San Diego! “Aurora” takes place twice nightly (except Dec. 24) at Hua Mei Plaza.

Photo courtesy of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

In addition to “Aurora,” Jungle Bells is full of experiences, including Dr. Zoolittle’s animal-themed version of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” the Northern Frontier Holiday Forest aglow with specially decorated and lighted trees, and the toog tree on Front Street, which doesn’t just light up, it appears to come to life, “dancing” to sounds of the season. Guests can visit Santa at Gingerbread Landing, see some of Santa’s elves as they keep things hopping with their energetic trampoline performance at the “Toy Shop Hop,” enjoy a jazzy carol session and strolling musicians, join in the Reindeer Games on the main plaza and meet larger-than-life friendly Zoo characters like Dr. Harry Lion, Churchill Polar Bear, Sydney Koala and their friends. 

Those looking for something extra special to do during Jungle Bells can enjoy a 90-minute Inside Look Twilight Tour. This evening tour features a special look at animals that are just waking up as the sun goes down.

Wild Holidays at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Guests can see the Safari Park in a whole new light at Wild Holidays, on select dates November 26, 2021 through January 2, 2022. During Wild Holidays, visitors can walk the pathways on a holiday expedition and travel through places that glow and twinkle. Fanciful characters, musical entertainment, storytelling and culinary treats round out the evening of holiday festivities. And a visit to the Safari Park would not be complete without a trek aboard the Africa Tram to see remarkable wildlife, including rhinos, giraffes, African crowned cranes and wildebeest.

Photo courtesy of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

Safari Park visitors can enjoy Safari Park Radio 197.2 playing holiday hits throughout Safari Base Camp, with the DJ presenting “Did you Know?” segments and trivia games — and can enjoy the animated Robert the Zebra during the daytime hours, and dance along to Wild Holidays’ musical entertainment. The Safari Park’s adventure and explorer extraordinaire, Safari Parker, will read an original holiday story, “Twas the Night before Wild Holidays,” at the Village Playground — and guests can also take a photo with the jolly ol’ elf himself, Santa Claus, in his whimsical home at the Village Marketplace; sip and savor culinary delights at the Safari Park’s food stands; and shop for the perfect holiday gifts at the Safari Park’s retail locations. 

Photo courtesy of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

Guests can also participate in one of the Safari Park’s upgraded experiences, including the Flightline Safari. In a harness, participants will experience views of the Safari Park as they soar as high as 130 feet above the ground, traveling two-thirds of a mile, with a view of cape buffalo, giant eland and other wildlife in the expansive savanna habitats below. Or, guests can pack up their “trunk” for a Roar & Snore sleepover adventure at the Safari Park. All sleepovers include camp activities, an after-hours look at the wild lives of our wildlife, guided walks, a campfire program, dinner, an evening snack and breakfast the following morning.

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