Zoo getting ready for Zoo Nights and Lights

Gladys Porter Zoo staff decorate Christmas trees as they prepare for their annual Zoo Nights and Lights event in this file photo. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald)

The Gladys Porter Zoo is getting ready for its annual Zoo Nights and Lights event as the zoo is being decorated with brilliant lights around its entire area.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, all of the zoo will be lit with the lights this year that will allow more spacing between visitors, said Alejandra Rodriguez, spokesperson for the Gladys Porter Zoo.

Although facial masks are not required, people attending are encouraged to wear them.

Zoo staff began Zoo Nights and Lights preparations at the beginning of the month. Additional displays and lights have been added. “As soon as Halloween” was over the work started, Rodriguez said.

During the first two weekends in December, visitors can take strolls around the zoo. The zoo will be open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 3, 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12. The entrance cost to Zoo Nights and Lights is $5 per adult and $3 per child. In lieu of the entrance fee during those dates, visitors can take a free unwrapped toy that will be donated to Toys for Tots. It’s one toy per person.

There will also be some musical performances, dance teams and an arts and craft show. The zoo’s concession stands will be open. The gift shop will also be open in case any visitors would like to do some Christmas shopping.

The following weekend visitors can tour Zoo Nights and Lights via the Holiday Express.

The tours will be held at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Dec. 17, 18 and 19. General ticket prices are $15 for adults and $12 for children. Tickets for zoo members are $10 for adults and $8 for children. Because space is limited, zoo officials urge those planning to attend the event to make reservations by calling (956) 548-9453.

A tree decoration contest is happening at the zoo among its employees, and members of the public will be able to vote for the best decorated tree during the Zoo Nights and Lights event.