Zoos Leap Into the Holiday Spirit

Santa at SeaWorld
Mike Aguilera, SeaWorld San Diego
Kriss Kringle visits with a reindeer at Santa's Cottage at SeaWorld.

’Tis the season for gifts, Christmas lights and winter wonderlands — and not just for us humans! Zoo and aquarium animals across the country are proving that you don’t have to be a human (or a reindeer) to get into the holiday spirit.

So if gingerbread houses and cheerful music unwrap your holiday joy, check out this roundup of our favorite zoo and aquarium holiday events.

National Zoo Gingerbread Habitat
Elise Bernardoni, Smithsonian National Zoo
An entry in this year's Gin-Grr-Bread Habitat Competition.

Twinkling Lights, Romance and ... Gingerbread Habitats?

More than 500,000 environmentally friendly lights brighten up the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., this month. And they’ll create the perfect fairy-tale backdrop for the ZooLights Date Night on Friday, Dec. 14. While enjoying Champagne and sweets, lovebird visitors get to learn about courtship and breeding behaviors in certain species. The National Zoo also hosted its annual Gin-Grr-Bread Habitat Competition, which invited participants to create edible habitats celebrating the zoo’s new American Trail exhibit.

Celebrate Christmas in California

It probably won’t get too chilly in San Diego this winter, but that has never stopped all the SeaWorld creatures from celebrating the December holidays. An otter and a troop of sea lions star in a holiday comedy called Clyde and Seamore Save Christmas. And you can head on over to Santa’s reindeer corral (pictured above) to visit with the animals — and even Kriss Kringle himself.


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