It is almost Christmas, and you just might catch a glimpse of Rudolph – at the zoo! From the warmth of the car, families can drive through the beautiful 100-acre wildlife sanctuary magically transformed into a winter wonderland adorned with unique holiday displays and vibrant LED lights. Along with enjoying the peacefulness of nature, visitors can embrace the fun of the season with Christmas at the Zoo.
Located in West Bend, Shalom Wildlife Zoo is home to more than 750 animals and families are welcomed by the carload to drive through lights at the zoo. Upon entering, Santa has prepared a treat bag for all the good boys and girls, which includes hot cocoa, a candy cane, a card game, a ball maze, and cookies! Guests will travel along four miles of gravel road and see animals like bison, tigers, albino whitetail deer, bears, wolves, and more in the wildlife preserve. For the holidays, fences, habitats, and trees are creatively decorated with strand lights, twinkling animal shapes, and various themed areas. The best time to travel the trail is at dusk, but the experience is wonderful day or night.
The hour-long ride through the West Bend zoo with Christmas lights will inspire children taking in the magic of holidays while seeing their favorite animals snooze, graze, and play! For an extra dose of holiday cheer, families can sing along to Christmas music on 95.7FM on their radio or play “Santa Trivia” cards which are posted throughout the trail. The path aims to offer something for everyone to enjoy, including a humorous outhouse Santa display and five big red stockings along the ride with meaningful messages for the kiddos. Between all the colorful lights making the tall trees glow and the themed décor along the way, it will be hard to agree on a favorite!
Upon completing the trail, families are invited to visit the petting zoo, which is included with each admission. Visitors first enter the gift shop, a cozy cabin-like building that hosts a gorgeous Christmas tree and an impressive high ceiling filled with antlers. The shop is also home to many small animals, like pythons, hedgehogs, and turtles, during the winter months. Children can get an up-close look at these marvelous creatures, and of course, they can take a toy critter of their own home, too! The shop sells a large variety of stuffed animals and trinkets for the animal lover and child at heart. Feed the animals with bags for the petting zoo available for purchase for $3/bag.
Outside, many donkeys, llamas, and goats will be eager for a snack! Areas are clearly marked with a “feed me” sign to let families know which animals can be fed and there are plastic scoops available to help. Walking around the petting zoo area offers a personalized experience and an opportunity to get some fresh air. The area includes an adorable snowman bench for a family selfie and a donkey cutout photo frame for the kiddos! After the petting zoo, families can embrace togetherness, savor the holiday merriment, and enjoy peanuts around the crackling fire to warm up and complete their zoo experience.
While a trip to the zoo is always exciting, with Christmas right around the corner, it is even more extraordinary. So, pack some snacks and a thermos of hot cocoa and head to Shalom to create a new holiday tradition! It is a fun way to spend time together this winter and a perfect opportunity to celebrate the seasons’ festivities and witness sprinkles of Christmas cheer.
Christmas at the Zoo Drive-Thru Event
- $10/person – 2 & under are FREE
- FREE Treat bag from Santa
- Open daily until December 31, 2020
- 1:00 pm – 8:30 pm
- The last car admitted at 7:30 pm
- Closed on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day
- Thursday, December 24 and Friday, December 25, 2020
- Restrooms & sanitizer available on-site
Shalom Wildlife Zoo
1901 Shalom Drive, West Bend, WI 53090