The Zoo closes at 4 p.m. and reopens for Wild Lights at 5 p.m. Wild Lights runs from:

  • 5 to 9 p.m. on select weeknights and Sundays.
  • 5 to 10:30 p.m. on select weeknights; Fridays and Saturdays

How long does it take?

The Wild Lights trail illuminates the front half of the Detroit Zoo. The loop takes around an hour to complete.


Children younger than 2 are admitted free.

Advance tickets are recommended. Please arrive at your scheduled time according to your ticket. Wild Lights is a wildly popular event and sells out regularly; guests should expect lines and plan arrival times accordingly. A limited number of Wild Lights general admission tickets will be sold at the gate each night on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you are having difficulty locating your online tickets, please be sure to check your junk/spam folder. We encourage the use of your smartphone to present your tickets or reservation confirmation to the admission attendant.


Cost will vary subject to date and time; Tickets sold in advance (either online or on site at Customer Care during daytime Detroit Zoo hours) will range from  $17 to $24 for general admission and $30 to $38 for the Polar Patio package; parking is $8 per car. A limited number of Wild Lights general admission tickets will be sold at the gate each night on a first-come, first-served basis for $25 per person. The best way to guarantee your Wild Lights experience, at the best price, is to purchase your advance tickets today.

Members and non-members must purchase tickets to Wild Lights.

How do I know I’m getting the best price for my tickets?

Demand for tickets typically increases as the visit day approaches. Customers who buy their tickets early will have access to the lowest rates.

How often do dynamic ticket prices change?

Dynamic prices are subject to change daily. Timing for price adjustments is not predetermined and will depend entirely on how many tickets have been purchased in each time slot and date.

How do I know what the prices are?

The best price available for any given day and timeslot will be posted on the website as you follow the prompts to purchase tickets.

What happens if prices lower after I buy my tickets?

Prices will only increase leading up to the chosen date. There may be times when prices remain the same; however, they will not decrease. As with all of our tickets, all sales are final.

What happens if I can’t make the day or time for which I purchased tickets?

While all sales are final, you can choose to pay a “change fee” per ticket at the gate on another night of the event.  Change fees vary.


$8 per car for Members and non-members.


Buddy’s Pizza, The Winter Grille, Boardwalk Station and Table 28 will be open during Wild Lights. Additional food and drink options will be available along the trail, including a limited number of alcoholic beverages.

Guests are not permitted to bring their own alcoholic beverages on Zoo property.


The pathway allows you to see the Edward Mardigian Sr. River Otter Habitat and the Jane and Frank Warchol Beaver Habitat. All other animal habitats and buildings will be closed for the evening.


Wild Lights is held rain, snow or shine. Please come dressed for the weather and for walking outside.

What if I am late for my ticketed time due to traffic or the bus?

Wild Lights guests are always welcome to enter any time after their ticketed time, just not prior to the ticketed time. Please do your best to arrive on time or your entry may be delayed.

Polar Patio

Your scheduled ticket time is for arrival at the main admission gates of Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo, not the time you need to arrive at the Polar Patio.

The Polar Patio is located just past the Carousel, east of Table 28. All seating is outdoors.

Complimentary food included in your package purchase will only be available at the Patio. There will be charges applied to food items ordered at any other food location.

The Polar Patio menu includes 

  •                Dearborn All-beef Hotdogs (veggie/vegan option available)
  •                Mac n’ Cheese
  •                Soup
  •                Assortment of Chips
  •                Assortment of Cookies
  •                Hot Chocolate with a Souvenir Cup

Guests of the Polar Patio will have access to a cash bar.

Guests of the Polar Patio will receive a wristband upon arrival to Wild Lights. Guests must be wearing their wristbands to gain access to the patio area at any time during the event.

The Polar Patio food and beverage service will end at 9 p.m. every night.