jungle bells

Jungle Bells

December 9, 2023 through January 1, 2024*

Member Preview Night December 8, 2023


Experience the magic and spirit of the holiday season at the world-famous San Diego Zoo! Join us for Jungle Bells as we light up the night until 8 p.m. (*except December 24) with amazing entertainment—including the end-of-the-evening spectacular, Aurora. Bring the whole family, and enjoy all the fun and warmth of this joyous annual celebration.

Jungle Bells is included with all admission tickets and memberships.

Learn more about Cal Coast Credit Union, our partner in conservation



Jingle brass

Jingle Brass

  • 4:30, 5:30, 6:30, and 7:30 p.m. (25 minutes)
  • Front Street Stage

Get in the festive holiday spirit, as our brass musical ensemble plays your favorite seasonal tunes with their own unique flair.

Reindeer Games

Reindeer Games

  • 5, 6, and 7 p.m. (25 minutes)
  • Front Street Stage

Join in all the interactive fun! Wildlife explorers of all ages will enjoy holiday games and dances that get everyone moving and into the spirit of the season. 


juggler balancing a glowing white juggling pin on their nose

Jack Frost Juggler

  • 3:30, 4:30, 5:30, and 6:30 p.m. (30 minutes)
  • Wildlife Explorers Basecamp – Roaming

The prince of winter shows off amazing skills, juggling snowballs and icicles as he brings a little magical winter chill to the air at Wildlife Explorers Basecamp.


Holiday Friends

Dr. Harry & His Holiday Friends

  • 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. (25 minutes)
  • Boardwalk Beer Garden

Meet Santa’s favorite helpers—friendly Zoo characters Dr. Harry Lion, Churchill Polar Bear, Sydney Koala, and all their friends dressed in their holiday finest as—they pose for photos and spread the cheer of the season.  

The Tinseltones

The Tinseltones

  • 5:15, 5:45, 6:15, and 6:45 p.m. (20 minutes)
  • Boardwalk Beer Garden

This talented a cappella quartet delights with unique arrangements of seasonal classics on the Boardwalk stage. They’ll also bring a dusting of holiday magic to the area, creating a winter wonderland.  


Acrobats in elf costumes

Toy Shop Hop

  • 3, 4, 5, and 6 p.m. (15 minutes)
  • Sydney’s Grill

Santa’s acrobatic elves show off their bouncing and high-flying holiday magic in this amazing display of skill and athleticism. 


Dr. Zoolittle reading from an oversized bright red book

Dr. Zoolittle's One Wild Night Before Christmas

  • 3:45, 4:45, 5:45, and 6:45 p.m. (20 minutes)
  • Africa Rocks Stage – Rocks Box

The inimitable Dr. Z gets in the holiday spirit by telling his own zany, interactive version of the classic holiday story. 


A forest pathway at night with twinkly lights

Northern Frontier’s Holiday Forest

  • Through 8 p.m. (Continuous)
  • Polar Bear Plunge

Follow this festive forest pathway and trek through a woodsy wonderland of holiday décor and specially designed, lighted trees, on your way to visit polar bears. It’s a great place for a holiday photo!  



Santa’s Factory

  • Noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 24–26, Dec. 2–3 and 24; Noon to 8 p.m. Dec. 8–23 and 25
  • Price Education Center

Guests of all ages will love stopping by Santa’s Factory for a visit—and getting a photo with the jolly old elf himself.   

Guitarist with festive songs

Holiday Troubadour

  • 4:45, 5:45, and 6:45 p.m. (30 minutes)
  • Gingerbread Landing to Bridge Snacks

Our strolling singer and acoustic guitarist will interact with guests and entertain everyone with classic holiday tunes. Come and sing along! 


Couple watching Aurora Borealis

Aurora VIP Experience

  • December 8–31; excluding December 24
  • Dinner reservations available between 1 and 6 p.m.; Aurora begins at 6:30 and 7:40 p.m.
  • Albert’s Restaurant
  • Reservations required

Enjoy a delicious pre-show dinner at Albert's Restaurant, then relax in a reserved priority viewing area and watch the magic of Aurora—our spectacular evening presentation with live performers, and incredible light and 3D video projections. A light-up souvenir is included with each ticket. Cost is $85 per adult; $40 per child ages 3 to 11; nonmembers add Zoo admission.

Aurora sprite and child

Aurora Pathways

  • 6 and 7:10 p.m
  • Wind – Upper Center Street (starts at Map Location 8)  
    Water – Africa Rocks (starts below Rocks Box) 
    Ice – Lower Center Street (starts at the Pagoda)

Aurora’s friendly sprites, symbolizing three elements of nature—wind, water and ice—will inhabit three areas of the Zoo pathways, engaging guests and greeting them with spirited goodwill. Music, lighting, and special effects on these themed pathways lead guests to Hua Mei Plaza and the Aurora spectacular, where their experience continues.

Aurora show characters


  • 6:30 and 7:40 p.m.  (10 minutes)
  • Asian Passage – Hua Mei Plaza

The popular end-of-the-evening spectacular returns! With lights, sounds, live performers, and 3D video projection images, Aurora highlights the beauty of wind, water, and ice with two mesmerizing performances nightly. Don’t miss your chance to be part of the show, interacting with the experience through Aurora bubble scepters, which glow and bubble during the performances.

Hotel with pool
Creature Comforts


Groom and bride embracing as a giraffe looks on in the distance.
Wild Weddings

Picture Your Special Day at the Park!

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