‘Tis the season to see dazzling holiday lights at gardens and zoos throughout Colorado.
From an “Electric Safari” at Colorado Springs’ Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to “Blossoms of Light” that bloom at Denver’s Botanic Gardens, to a twinkling wonderland at the Garden on Spring Creek in Fort Collins, an array of festive holiday lights beckon visitors to Colorado’s cultural facilities this holiday season.
Here’s a roundup of holiday light displays near you at Colorado zoos and gardens.
Voted third-best in the nation by USA TODAY’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for Zoo Lights in both 2019 and 2020, Electric Safari takes holiday lights to a new level. That’s not surprising for this hilly zoo perched at the foot of Pikes Peak, 6,714 feet above sea level. Known to locals as CMZoo, Cheyenne Mountain is the highest elevation zoo in the U.S. and its holiday light display soars too.
Electric Safari features more than 50 acres of twinkling light displays, some of which are synchronized to music. CMZoo also features unique artisan-made light sculptures like a giant upside-down sloth hanging from a tree.
Along with artistic creatures, visitors can see many of the real zoo animals too. Most exhibits are open and guests pay extra to feed a giraffe in a warm barn. Guests can also visit the Zoo’s new hippo calf, Omo, and see the elephant and rhino barn along with African elephants.
Denver’s Botanic Gardens typically burst into color during the day in the spring and summer when tulips, lilacs and water lilies bloom.
But at night during the holiday season, more than half a million environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Gardens in a twinkling winter wonderland. Visitors can stroll through the light display and enjoy an array of experiences including a new, 200-foot-long, 17-foot-high light tunnel that features animated, flashing lights.
Blossoms of Light continues on select nights through Jan. 2 at Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St. in Denver. Advance tickets are required. Learn more about information and ticket details.
Chatfield Farms, another location under the Denver Botanic Gardens umbrella, features paths of glistening lights that celebrate Colorado’s countryside. Lights adorn many of the historic buildings at the site, including the old schoolhouse, ranch house and barn. Special features include synchronized music and light displays in the children’s play area along with singing Christmas trees, two light tunnels and illuminated antique tractors.
Trail of Lights continues on select nights through Jan. 2. Advance-purchase tickets are required. Learn more about hours and tickets. Chatfield Farms is located at 8500 W Deer Creek Canyon Road in Littleton.
December nights bring beautiful lights to northern Colorado’s favorite display of holiday lights.
Hundreds of thousands of environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the gardens into a twinkling winter wonderland. On special nights, carolers, jugglers, hula-hoop performers and the Sugar Plum Furries Dog Troupe also perform.
The Garden of Lights features a half-mile loop of perennial flower beds, huge sculptural flowers, grapevines, butterflies, a holiday village, and other favorite garden creatures—all constructed entirely from holiday lights.
Timed-entry tickets required. Purchase early as some popular time slots sell out. Learn more about scheduled performances and how to buy tickets for the Garden of Lights. The Gardens at Spring Creek are located at 2145 Centre Ave. in Fort Collins.
Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo
The Denver Zoo becomes positively iridescent during the holidays with more than a million lights decorating the 80-acre, 125-year-old gem located in Denver’s City Park.
Along with spectacular light displays, visitors can also enjoy live ice carving exhibitions with local ice artists and views of cold-weather animals (at their discretion of course).
Zoo Lights continues through Dec. 31. Tickets are available only in advance. Make your plans early. Tickets to Zoo Lights sell out every year. For additional charges, special “warm-up” areas are available. Visitors can also purchase add-on packages with “holospex” glasses, giraffe feedings and “meet-and-greet” experiences with “Animal Ambassadors” including hawks, owls, snakes, porcupine, tamandua and others. Learn more about ticket packages. The Denver Zoo is located at 2300 Steele St. in Denver.
Holiday lights in an array of colors from sapphire blue to orange, fuchsia and neon green create a spectacle for the eyes, then look down into the lake at Hudson Gardens and you’ll see the lights erupting like colorful fireworks in the water.
A Hudson Christmas is back after a 2-year break during the pandemic. Creators say they have “turned up the dazzlemeter” for this year’s holiday lights displays. It includes a grove of dancing Christmas trees, a multi-colored forest inhabited by giant snowmen, a holiday light tunnel and growing reindeer.
Extravaganza of Lights continues through Dec. 31. Tickets are available online only. Make your plans in advance. Learn more about ticket prices and availability. Hudson Gardens is located at 6115 S. Santa Fe Drive in Littleton.