Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Dragon Sensory Hours: The dragons will be asleep from 2 to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Rosamond Gifford Zoo Presents First ‘Holiday Nights’ Events in December

SYRACUSE, NY, November 9, 2021 — The Rosamond Gifford Zoo will transform its courtyard and part of the outdoor zoo into a winter wonderland for a new after-hours event, Holiday Nights, for three weekends in December.

Holiday Nights will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays from December 3 - 18 as a fun and safe way to celebrate the season outdoors with live holiday carolers, visits with Santa, glowing fire pits to gather around, hot cocoa and s’mores stations amid festive lighting, and pop-up holiday vendors, said Friends of the Zoo Executive Director Carrie Large.

“This will be our first Holiday Nights, but we hope to expand it into an annual seasonal event,” Large said. “We want to provide new ways for our community to experience everything the zoo has to offer year-round, including a beautiful space to gather in a safe, family-friendly atmosphere that also supports a good cause, our internationally accredited zoo.”

Friends of the Zoo is inviting and involving the community in decorating and providing entertainment for Holiday Nights. Excellus Blue Cross/Blue Shield has signed on as the Volunteer Sponsor for the many volunteers who help make zoo events extra special.

Syracuse city school students in the P-Tech program at the Institute for Technology at Syracuse Central are hard at work creating an “Under the Sea” lighting display for the event. A total of 40 students are teaming up to design, engineer, build and wire the display of eight giant sea creatures as part of their studies in electrical, digital and mechanical engineering.

“The displays the P-Tech students have designed are phenomenal!  They did research on the animals and their features…then engineered a light exhibit for all of us to enjoy,” Large said. “Looking forward to having this partnership with the school and seeing the students designs come to light.”

Friends of the zoo also hired a local vendor, SHINE, to illuminate the zoo from the Courtyard and Terrace around the waterfowl pond and from the Domestic Animal Barn to Primate Park – including mounting a huge wreath atop the barn and wrapping the flamingo house in pink lights.

As for entertainment, Friends of the Zoo is inviting CNY choral groups and school choirs to share their holiday programs with the community at Holiday Nights.

The Holiday Nights ticket price is just $7 for zoo members, $8 non-members in advance or $8 members, $9 non-members at the door. (Children 2 and under are free.) Advance tickets are available at All proceeds will benefit animal care and conservation at the zoo.


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