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A purple panda, a red giraffe, an orange hippo: the National Zoo’s annual transformation into a habitat for LED animals during the ZooLights festival starts Nov. 24 and runs until the new year. Not only are all the Zoo’s most famous animals, from octopi to peacocks, depicted in sculptures made of holiday lights, but there is also a live music stage, a snow-less tubing track, and booths selling treats and more waiting to be explored. In addition, if you want to see some non-illuminated creatures and it is getting chilly out, you can even head inside and greet a delegation of the Zoo’s nocturnal animals as they wake up. Did we mention it is entirely free? All donations that are received will go towards the Zoo’s efforts to promote wildlife conservation.

ZooLights also hosts a series of special limited-time events. On Nov. 30, the craft beer event BrewLights will offer samplings from myriad well-known breweries and D.C. restaurants. From Dec. 15-17, a European-style market will spotlight local artisans, selling a dazzling array of jewelry, arts and crafts, books, and household decorations. New to ZooLights this year is the Glow Zone, a light-up park area for kids, as well as CulturalDC’s SPACE4, a movable art gallery that provides an immersive creative experience centered around the unorthodox and avant-garde.

The festival is open from 5-9 p.m. each evening. For more details, check out the National Zoo’s website.

PC: National Zoo

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