Wildlanterns Festival of Lights

In the heart of Seattle, Washington, lies the captivating Woodland Park Zoo, a place where wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers unite to connect with the animal kingdom. But during one magical time of the year, the zoo transforms into an illuminated wonderland that delights visitors of all ages. Welcome to the enchanting WildLanterns Festival, a celebration that fuses art, wildlife, and culture, casting a mesmerizing glow over the city and illuminating the beauty of our natural world.

The creation

The WildLanterns Festival was conceived as a unique event to blend the spirit of the holiday season with the awe-inspiring wonders of the animal kingdom. It was introduced to the Woodland Park Zoo’s calendar of events to foster awareness and appreciation for wildlife conservation while providing a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors.

Each year, from November to January, the zoo transforms its picturesque grounds into a nocturnal wonderland. As the sun sets, the pathways come alive with intricate, larger-than-life lantern sculptures that portray a diverse array of wildlife, ranging from majestic elephants to elusive snow leopards, and from vibrant tropical birds to mythical creatures of folklore.

The splendor of the wildlanterns

The WildLanterns Festival features an impressive collection large lanterns representing wild animals and wild places from around the world.

This walk-through holiday light show features interactive activities and brightly colored larger-than-life lanterns depicting a zoo-worthy menagerie of animals, ranging from dragonflies, bugs and bunnies to tigers, red pandas, orangutans, koalas, kangaroos, and other creatures. Bonus events include animal ambassador visits and live traditional Chinese dance performances.

WildLanterns presented by BECU returns this winter with brand-new lanterns and themed zones, along with some returning fan favorites, that will “wow” anyone, no matter their age.

Experience the zoo like never before

Begin your breathtaking journey through a world of themed lanterns at the Land of Winter Wonders. Here, witness a magical snow world with glistening ice and picture yourself in one of the world’s polar regions.

Continue to the family-favorite Interactive Zone where illusions and games galore are sure to cause excitement. Journey on to the Fine Feathered Friends zone where birds are the theme, giant illuminated species include parrots and toucans! Giant spiders and a corridor of vibrant flowers are two highlights of the next display, Bugs and Blooms.

Linger in the Bamboo Forest where you’ll observe numerous lanterns of the iconic Chinese species in a display of stunning cherry.

Finally, marvel at the mythical animals of Fantastical Folklore Realm, can you find the White Dragon or the Pegasus?

Community impact

The WildLanterns Festival has had a profound impact on the Seattle community. Beyond being a source of joy and wonder for families and friends, the event serves as an educational platform. It fosters a sense of responsibility and stewardship for the natural world, inspiring attendees to take actions that support wildlife conservation and environmental protection.

Furthermore, the festival contributes to the zoo’s efforts to fund animal care, conservation programs, and habitat preservation projects. The proceeds from ticket sales and associated merchandise directly benefit the Woodland Park Zoo’s mission, which is to save wildlife and their habitats through vital research and community engagement.


The WildLanterns Festival at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington, is an illuminating celebration that merges artistry, wildlife conservation, and cultural appreciation into an unforgettable experience. As visitors traverse the enchanting pathways adorned with intricate lantern sculptures, they immerse themselves in the beauty of the animal kingdom and deepen their connection with nature.

The festival’s magic extends beyond its radiant displays, as it continues to inspire a commitment to preserving the natural world and the magnificent creatures that call it home. WildLanterns is not just a festival; it’s a luminous journey that ignites a passion for wildlife preservation and kindles the hope for a harmonious future where humans and nature thrive together.

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