By Crystal Harrell

If you’re looking for the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit, the illuminating spectacle of WildLights is returning for its 30th season at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. Whether you are a frequent visitor during the Christmas season or are new to the seasoned spectacle, this immersive winter wonderland is a must-see for the whole family.

The 2022 dates for the WildLights event are November 23, 25-26 and December 2-3, 9-10, 16-24, and 26-30—running from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. WildLights will be closed on December 25.

Visit WildLights for an illuminated journey around the Living Desert Zoo, complete with twinkling lights, dazzling displays, and holiday fun. Throughout the night, visitors find endless awe-inspiring sights and festive photo opportunities. They will also be able to go for a spin on the carousel, enjoy themed treats, take a free souvenir photo with Santa, and much more.


Exploring the Zoo’s lighted pathways and light displays, including the Tunnel of Lights and Synchronized Light Zones, is a dazzling highlight of the event. Festive fare will also be available for purchase, including hot chocolate and s’mores stations, beer, wine, and sprits, and snacks.

In true WildLights tradition and a Living Desert hallmark, the G-scale model trains will be decked out for the holidays with more than 3,300 feet of track. Due to popularity, advanced reservations are required and there is limited capacity each night.

Each guest’s timed WildLights ticket indicates the earliest time they can enter the Living Desert Zoo. All daytime visitors, including members and guests with WildLights tickets, must completely exit the Zoo by 5 p.m. Beginning at 6 p.m., WildLights guests will be allowed to enter at the time designated on their ticket.

General Admission for this event is priced at 16 dollars while Members get in for 14 dollars.

Children ages 3 to 12 are priced at 12 dollars and children under 3 get in for free. Guests of all ages will be able to pose with Santa for photos through December 24th. Santa will then depart for the North Pole on Christmas Day and will not be at WildLights on December 26th through the 30th.

Parking is free in the Living Desert Zoo’s main parking lot, but spaces can fill up quickly. Please plan to carpool or use a rideshare service to save time. Overflow parking is located on Portola Avenue, Haystack Avenue, and Buckboard Avenue. If guests are purchasing Member Tickets, be sure to bring a valid photo ID matching the name on the membership when arriving at the event.

The Living Desert is also excited to share that, once again, WildLights has been nominated for USA TODAY’s 10Best Reader’s Choice “Best Zoo Lights” Award. For the past three years, WildLights has been voted as one of the Top Ten Zoo Lights and the Zoo is glowing with gratitude for the continued support of the community. Visitors are encouraged to vote for The Living Desert daily until the contest closes on Monday, December 5th, at 8:59 am on the website.

“I always enjoy visiting the Living Desert around the holidays because the WildLights are really an impressive sight to see with the family and the perfect way to ring in the Christmas season,” shared Palm Desert resident Colby Wade.

Advanced reservations are required for both members and guests. It is recommended to purchase tickets as far in advance as possible, as the Living Desert Zoo anticipates this event selling out. Tickets may be purchased at the Living Desert website,, or by calling (760) 346-5694.