Zoo Lights

Sophia Lewis, Staff Writer

Utah’s Hogle Zoo has returned for their 13th year, but they are spicing things up for the season by adding life-sized animal lanterns to their light displays. According to the Hogle Zoo’s website, they are offering 50% off all admissions during any night while Zoo Lights is active.


The Hogle Zoo has many activities and treats available during the season like hot chocolate and s’mores, gifts at the gift shop, pictures at Santa’s station, and rides on the Conservation Carousel, if the weather allows it.


The Grizzly Growl staff visited the zoo’s holiday attraction to give readers a firsthand look into the zoo’s festivities. 


Festive lights depicting all different animals of the zoo were scattered across the fences and pathways. There were life-sized lanterns of zebras, gorillas, lions, elephants, orangutans, tigers, and tortoises. Animals that are usually lounging out of sight during the day made up close and personal appearances, though. 


Three lions wandered around their exhibit during the Growl’s visit, and two other lions were seen sleeping side by side against the glass. The Siberian tiger was spotted pacing her enclosure and roaring into the night. The Amur leopard, of which there are only about 70 left in the wild, was camouflaged against the rocks during its slumber.  The snow leopard was pressed snugly against the glass as it slept. 


Crowds gathered around the exhibit of the Colobus monkeys. They pressed their hands against the glass to greet the people admiring them. The spider monkeys were cuddling together in a hammock as they groomed one another. 


Utah spends a lot of its time covered in snow, which in the case of the zoo, can raise some questions about the welfare of the animals. Animals like African Elephants and African Lions would normally never see a single snowflake in their lifetimes, so how does the zoo care for the animals that are not normally in cold environments? 


Many of the animals were brought inside because of the weather, such as the Siamese Crocodile. The reptile house was closed off and the animals that were visible, were sleeping under the moonlight. Copper Hill’s mascot was seen sleeping soundly under a wooden structure. Animals like giraffes, elephants, and tortoises were nowhere to be seen in their exhibits, being brought inside or in a temporary exhibit for the winter season. 


The sea lions and harbor seals were seen lounging in their enclosures, steam coming up from the water which implied heated pools to keep the animals warm during Utah’s cold winters. The Hogle Zoo is making sure its animals are comfortable during the colder months. Heaters were spotted inside exhibits and outside of exhibits for guests. Many of the animals had indoor exhibits that were open to them to retreat to at any time. The animals that were left outdoors were accustomed to colder weather and for extra measure had wooden structures with bedding to sleep in.


Even if you don’t get to see the zoo lights yourself, the Hogle Zoo’s website has a gallery of the lights available for viewing previous year’s lights.