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Animals Aglow

Lantern Festival

6:30-9:30 p.m.
Wednesdays through Sundays
March 13 to May 5, 2024

Walk around the Saint Louis Zoo at twilight amidst the luminous glow of 50 towering lanterns depicting animals, plants and traditional Chinese elements. You’re sure to enjoy this celebration of culture and art!

This event was created in partnership with Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc., an international event design and manufacturing company headquartered in Zigong, Sichuan, China.

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(for ages 2+) Children under age 2 are free.


MEMBER: $16.95
: $19.95


MEMBER: $20.95
: $23.95

Sensory-Friendly Night

Sunday, April 7

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Ticket Details

When you’re ready to enter the event, have your ticket bar code ready to be scanned. Guests will have their bar code scanned from their print-at-home ticket or scanned digitally from their smartphone.

Tickets are valid only for the day and time noted. High demand is expected, and popular dates may sell out quickly. Tickets are not refundable, apart from a weather-related cancellation (see “inclement weather” section below).

If it becomes necessary to exchange the date of your tickets, please contact Guest Relations at or at (314) 646-4797, option #2.


Parking is available on the North and South Lots; parking is included with admission (as available).

Lanterns and Entertainment

See dozens of new, hand-constructed lantern displays illuminated by thousands of LED lights around the Zoo. Plus, enjoy nightly Chinese cultural performances.

Biodiversity will shine at Animals Aglow! You’ll see animal lanterns representing four key biomes: the ocean, rainforest, polar region and prairie. Along your journey around the Zoo, you’ll find educators who will share how you can help animals’ wild counterparts and their habitats.

Zoo Experiences

  • Dinoroarus, open nightly (included with admission)
  • Conservation Carousel, open nightly
    • $1.95: Zoo Member
    • $2.95: Non-Member
  • Zooline Railroad, running Fridays through Sundays (weather permitting)
    • $3.95: Zoo Member
    • $4.95: Non-Member

Note: Animals will not be viewable, and no animal buildings will be open during this event.

Specialty Menu Items

Enjoy delicious Asian specialties from our open eateries:

  • Carousel Cafe: Chicken and mushroom Asian dumplings with chili crisp-seasoned broth
  • Ice Cream Oasis: Taiyaki (fish-shaped pastries) with soft-serve ice cream
  • Lakeside Cafe: Asian sweet rice with firecracker chicken
  • River Camp Cafe: Asian pork steamed buns (pulled pork, Asian slaw, hoisin glaze)
  • Starbucks: Iced “Year of the Dragon” beverage (mango dragon fruit juice with coconut milk and freeze-dried dragon fruit pieces, topped with a matcha cold foam)

Retail and Shopping

Check out Tianyu’s tent, located in the center of the Zoo near Ice Cream Oasis. There will be a variety of cultural handicrafts for purchase. Be sure to check out open Zoo gift shops as well for event merchandise!

Aluminum braiding is a traditional folk handicraft. It involves using aluminum wire and other metal materials, which are oxidized into various colors. This technique creates various shapes, including mythical creatures such as dragons and phoenixes.

The inner-bottle painting is a unique traditional craft in China. Hand-painted pictures are created inside glass, crystal and other materials. The bottles are produced by manipulating a specialized paint brush through the neck of the bottle.

Chinese lanterns are an ancient form of handcraft that originated in the Han Dynasty, flourished in the Tang Dynasty and became popular among the Song Dynasty. After thousands of years of development, lanterns have evolved into different regional styles, each with their own unique form of artistic expression.

Panda merchandise will include panda dolls, backpacks, scarves, keychains and more!

Frequently Asked Questions

No, there is no timed entry. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Last entry to the event is 9 p.m., and the event concludes at 9:30 p.m.

Parking is available on the North and South Lots.

While parking for the event is free, lots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis and may reach capacity. If lots are full, limited street parking within the boundaries of Forest Park also is available for free.

The Zoo closes to the public at 5 p.m. daily (all pathways, restaurants, exhibits and attractions will no longer be open.) Doors will re-open at 6:30 p.m. for the event. Zoo guests who are planning to attend Animals Aglow will need to exit the Zoo and have their event tickets scanned for re-entry starting at 6:30 p.m.

Buying tickets online is the best option as the Zoo is experiencing high call volumes.

For those unable to access the Zoo’s website, please call (314) 646-4797, option #2, to speak with a representative. Lines are staffed daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Zoo's wheelchair, stroller and ECV rental fees apply for this event.

Yes, groups of 15 or more may receive a discounted rate on tickets when purchased and paid for at least eight days prior to the visit date.
To purchase group tickets, please call (314) 646-4781.

Rain or wet weather may hinder some lantern displays from operating correctly. We apologize for any inconvenience.

  • In case of a cancellation due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances, the Zoo will update its website and social media by 4 p.m. the day of the event.
  • If you have tickets for a canceled event, you will receive a full refund on the credit or debit card used to purchase. The Zoo will do its best to issue refunds in a timely manner.

For any issues related to online ticket purchases, please call (314) 646-4797, option #2, or email A Zoo representative will follow up with you as soon as possible.

Visiting from Out of Town?

Looking for a place to stay while visiting the Zoo? Check out our hotel partners during your stay in St. Louis.

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