Jungle Bells

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See the Zoo transformed into a wild wonderland of of twinkling lights, merry performances, festive foods, and fun for all! December 14 through January 6.

Entertainment

  • Wild Night Out 21+: Special Event December 13

    Times: December 13 only; 5:30 to 9 p.m.

    Join us for a special adults-only preview of Jungle Bells with some extra fun included. Reservations are required; click here to learn more and reserve your spot. Tickets are $40; must be 21 and older to attend.

  • Jingle Brass
    Location: Front Street Stage
    Times: 4:30, 5:30, 6:30, and 7:30 p.m.

    Jingly, jazzy carols set the tone for a festive experience. These songs of the season are both familiar and fresh. And since this is an interactive music show, it’s sure to help get everyone into the holiday spirit.

  • Celebration of Lights
    Location: Front Street
    Times: Every 30 minutes from 4:55 to 7:55 p.m.

    Adorned with hundreds of bulbs, our toog tree doesn’t just light up, it seems to come to life! Bright bits of light blink and dazzle as they “dance” to the sounds of the season.

  • Dr. Zoolittle's 'Twas the Night Before Christmas
    Location: Koalafornia Boardwalk
    Times: 4, 5, 6, and 7 p.m.

    The Zoo’s very own director of fun, Dr. Zoolittle, has his own zany version of Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem, and it all happens here! Not a “creature” will stir as this superb storyteller captivates the child in everyone—as visions of animals dance in your head.

  • Toy Shop Hop
    Location: Sydney's Grill
    Times: 3:30, 4:30, 5:30, and 6:30 p.m.

    Santa’s elves and their large trampoline return to put a bounce in everyone’s holiday step. They are supposed to be getting a jump on cleaning up the workshop, but mischief beckons—and fun follows.

  • The Tinseltones
    Location: Africa Rocks Stage
    Times: 5, 5:30, 6, and 6:30 p.m.

    Voices blending in pure harmony make holiday tunes sound even sweeter. Enjoy the entire performance; a dusting of "frosty holiday magic" at the end will have you smiling with delight.

  • The Polar Express 4-D Experience
    Location: Northern Frontier
    Times: Continuous; last show begins at 7 p.m.

    "All Aboard" for an extraordinary 4-D adventure to the North Pole on The Polar Express: When a doubting young boy takes an amazing train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. Based on the inspiring and beloved Caldecott Medal children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg. (Cost: $7; purchase tickets at Northern Frontier 4-D Theater)

Animal Experiences

  • See Them All!
    Location: Various Locations

    4 p.m.: Animal Ambassadors (Urban Jungle, just past the koalas)

    5:15 p.m.: Racoon Enrichment (Northern Frontier/Polar Bear Plunge)

    5:30 p.m.: Children's Zoo Surprise (Discovery Outpost/Children's Zoo)

    5:45 p.m.: Aye-aye Keeper Talk (Asian Passage, along Center Street)

    6:15 p.m.: Asian Leopard Keeper Talk (Asian Passage, Map Locator 14)

     

Activities

  • Reindeer Games
    Location: Front Street Stage
    Times: 5, 6, and 7 p.m.

    Everyone knows reindeer like to have fun. Here’s your chance to join in the games made famous in the song about Rudolph. You’ll even learn to do the Reindeer Dance—no hoofing experience required!

  • Gingerbread Landing
    Location: Treetops Cafe
    Times: 4:30 to 8 p.m.

    Visit this magical place and enjoy interacting with a strolling musician and Zoo characters, and share giggles, grins, and good times with our character, Ginger Snap. Santa will be here, too!

  • Santa's Factory
    Location: Price Education Center
    Times: December 14–23 and 25: Noon to 8 p.m. December 24: Noon to 4 p.m.

    Santa will be waiting at Gingerbread Landing to welcome young guests. Even if they've already sent him their wish list or had a chat at another location, a visit with the jolly ol' elf himself is a special opportunity for sweet memories and smiles.

    Note: Santa will be here before Jungle Bells begins, December 1, 2, 8, and 9: Noon to 4 p.m.

  • Northern Frontier's Holiday Forest
    Location: Northern Frontier
    Times: Continuous until 8 p.m.

    Follow this festive forest pathway to encounter polar bears, Arctic foxes, and reindeer. Stroll among specially decorated, lighted trees designed to delight. It’s the perfect spot to snap a snazzy shot for your holiday card!

  • Discovery Cart Tour (additional cost)
    Location: Front Street
    Times: 5, 5:15, and 6:45 p.m.

    Sit back in the comfort of our expedition cart as you enjoy a guided tour of our dazzling light displays. Available December 15 though January 5; cost is $54 per person and up; reservations required. Book online or by calling 619-718-3000.

  • Balboa Park Miniature Train (additional cost)

    Times: Continuous until 8 p.m.

    Located just outside the Zoo exit, the beloved Miniature Train will be running during Jungle Bells. Obtain a hand stamp at the Zoo's exit for same day re-entry. Train tickets are $3 for ages 1 and older; children younger than age 1 are free. Ages 5 and younger must ride with a paying adult.

Dining

  • Happy Holidays Happens
    Location: Albert's Restaurant
    Times: 3 to 5 p.m.

    ‘Tis the season for great deals on discounted drinks and appetizers at Albert’s restaurant. Stop in to fill your stomach before getting your Jungle Bells on!