December 19th, 2012
Dec. 15 to Jan. 6, 2012 – Celebrate the Holidays at the San Diego Zoo’s Jungle Bells; Free with Admission & Extended Hours!
Familiar holiday traditions are taking on a “wild” twist this Yuletide season as part of the Jungle Bells celebration at the San Diego Zoo. During the annual event, the Zoo is transformed into a wild, whimsical wonderland filled with dazzling light displays, tasty treats, a nightly tree lighting ceremony, melodious bell ringers, jumping elves, and the Zoo’s special animal encounters. Head over to the San Diego Zoo to be cheered by a cheetah or awed by an armadillo – after all, ’tis the season!
Free with admission to the Zoo, there are plenty of old and new Jungle Bells traditions for families to enjoy: take a ride on the North Pole miniature train outside the Zoo entrance; share your wish list with the jolly ol’ elf himself at Santa’s Workshop; find out who’s really stirring during Dr. Zoolittle’s The Night Before Christmas show at the Children’s Zoo; applaud the Jumpin’, Jammin’ Elves as they perform astounding acrobatic feats to holiday tunes in the Urban Jungle; and see the Zoo from the perspective of the most famous reindeer of all aboard Rudolph’s Skyfari aerial tram. For those looking for the wildest of holiday Zoo experiences, “Animal Magic for the Holidays” offers special encounters with the Zoo’s animal friends at Discovery Outpost.
New to Jungle Bells this year is Chocolate Town, where guests can marvel at a Chocolate Holiday Tree made up of chocolate-colored plants; meet the mayor of Chocolate Town as he welcomes visitors; choose yummy chocolate morsels from a brightly decorated Chocolate Food Truck; encounter favorite animal ambassadors; and see the all-new 12 Days of Christmas light display set to music.
At the 4-D Theater, experience the San Diego Zoo premiere of Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas. The holiday movie starring everyone’s favorite wooly mammoths has Sid accidentally destroying Manny’s favorite holiday decoration, the traditional Christmas rock. Convinced he’s now on Santa’s naughty list, Sid and the gang head to the North Pole to see Santa and chaos ensues. Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas is sure to delight guests of all ages. Tickets may be purchased at the theater ticket booth.
No holiday celebration is complete without colorful and twinkling lights and Jungle Bells is no exception. There are more than 50,000 individual lights used in the Jungle Bells décor and displays, all recently replaced with LED bulbs to save energy. To view the more than 40 animal-shaped light sculptures around the Zoo, guests may hop aboard the Tinseltown Trolley on Front Street and take a mini tour. Another light display not to be missed is the “Blitzen” Light Experience at Treehouse Plaza.
Hungry holiday revelers can visit Albert’s Restaurant where the Zoo’s talented chefs are cooking up scrumptious holiday meals, and offering its “Happy Holidays Happen” menu from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, featuring discounted drinks and appetizers. Or grab a bite to eat and sip on a beverage at the Zoo’s Sandwich Company and watch Memory Lane, a film montage of funny and heartwarming snippets from holiday movies and TV shows past and present.
And for last-minute holiday shoppers, Jungle Bells is a great place to pick up holiday gifts. In addition to the many items available in the Zoo’s gift shops and gifts of Zoo memberships, the Adopt an Animal program allows people to give a gift that is unique, fun, tax deductible and easy. Plus, all proceeds go to the San Diego Zoo’s global wildlife conservation efforts as well as enrichment items for the animals at the Zoo and Safari Park. The Adopt an Animal booth is located on Front Street during Jungle Bells. For $20.00, gift recipients receive an adoption certificate, fact sheet, an animal plush, and souvenir photo of their animal.
While enjoying all that Jungle Bells has to offer, enter to win an incredible safari experience for four at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park with a click of your smart phone. Snap pictures of you and your loved ones making memories at Jungle Bells at the Zoo and tag the photos with #sandiegozoo and #junglebells to enter.
Jungle Bells runs now through January 6, 2013. During the three-week celebration, the Zoo is open until 8:00 pm, except on December 24, 2012 when the Zoo closes at 5:00 pm. Jungle Bells activities are most concentrated in the late afternoon and early evening.
The Jungle Bells holiday celebration is free with paid admission or membership to the San Diego Zoo. Visit the San Diego Zoo website for a schedule of activities and more information about Jungle Bells.
Happy Holidays, San Diego!
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