10 Best U.S. Zoos To Visit in Winter

The best time to visit zoos in the US is during the winter, which is greatly underappreciated. The majority of zoos are still open, however not all of the animals are. Nevertheless, wintertime zoos tend to be less busy and more affordable. You can participate in a tonne of enjoyable events with a holiday theme! Discover the top ten US zoos to visit in the winter by reading on.

Rosamond Gifford Zoo

The Rocheford Zoo in Syracuse, New York, is the first zoo on our list. With nearly 900 animals, the zoo occupies an area of roughly 43 acres. Although the zoo’s history is convoluted, it started out as a modest, four-acre establishment in Burnet Park in 1914. The zoo closed in 1982 after seeing a decrease in the 1960s. In 1986, the zoo reopened.

What displays can one find here, then? Zoo inhabitants include Andean bears, fennec foxes, North American river otters, Chilean flamingos, Gila monsters, and poison dart frogs.

You can go to the Holiday Nights event in the winter. You can browse the charming and joyous zoo after hours. There are Christmas carolers, ice carving demos, and delectable food at this event.

1 Conservation Place
Syracuse, NY 13204

10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day

National Zoological Park of the Smithsonian

The Smithsonian National Zoological Park is a fantastic zoo to visit in the winter months in the United States. Given that it opened for business in 1889, it is among the nation’s oldest zoos. There are about 400 different animal species in the zoo, which is free to enter. Wintertime is a perfect time to visit this fascinating zoo! The zoo is home to a variety of animal species, such as tigers, eastern newts, pumpkinseed fish, alligator lizards, and African clawed frogs.

There are winter events, such as ZooLights. From November 24 to December 30, visitors can take advantage of the zoo’s festive nighttime lighting during this event. During the event, attendees are greeted by immersive lantern displays. The indoor exhibitions are closed, though. There’s seasonal shopping, great music, and delectable winter delights to enjoy.

3001 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is third on our list of the top US zoos to visit in the winter. Just like the last zoo, it’s quite old. It was first established in 1873, and two years later it was made public. There are currently around 500 animals and 3,000 plant species living in this zoo. The zoo makes a great place to spend a whole day exploring, especially in the winter.

There are lots of things to do at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden throughout the winter. The PNC Festival of Lights is a well-liked occasion. This zoo is just like most others in that it puts up a holiday lights show. The zoo invites guests to gaze at more than 4 million LED lights in 2023. From November 17 to January 7, 2023, the event will take place. Penguin Days are an amazing winter event that takes place starting in January. During the dates of January 8–March 8, 2024, visitors can get a discount on zoo admission. At the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, the penguin parade will conclude in 2024.

3400 Vine St,
Cincinnati, OH 45220

Hours may vary. This zoo is generally open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Detroit Zoo

Have you ever visited the Zoo in Detroit? Winter is a fantastic time to visit if you prefer cooler temperatures and less crowds. Michigan is home to the Detroit Zoo. More than 200 different species of animals can be seen in this 125-acre zoo, which opened in 1928. African pygmy geese, Chinese alligators, chimpanzees, zebras, wolverines, and more are among the creatures housed in this zoo.

Why then go in the winter? Why is the Detroit Zoo so unique in the winter months? The Detroit Zoo is transformed into a sparkling, wintry wonderland as you might picture. From November 24 to January 7, there are several days when you can walk through beautiful light displays. The Underwater Trail is one of the favourites for 2023. You’ll be lost on this route, not knowing where to look. Savour the zoo, the evening with live performances, and delectable seasonal fare. Go to the Wild Lights Lodge to warm up.

8450 W. 10 Mile Road,
Royal Oak, MI 48067

From October through March, the zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Dallas Zoo

The Dallas Zoo is another fantastic zoo to visit in the winter. This 106-acre Texas zoo is located close to Dallas’s downtown. There are more than 2,000 animals and 400 kinds at the Dallas Zoo. Every year, this zoo welcomes over a million visitors!

The zoo is home to creatures like flamingos, ring-tailed lemurs, African lions, tigers, Nile crocodiles, and giraffes. This zoo offers an abundance of activities. One day is insufficient sometimes. The zoo offers a membership that includes discounts on activities held in the zoo, in case you require more than one day.

You may see holiday lights and indulge in goodies at the zoo on certain nights during the winter.

650 S R.L. Thornton Fwy,
Dallas, TX 75203

The hours vary depending on the season.
From Sept. 1, 2023 to Feb. 29, 2024, the zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
From March 1 – Sept. 30, 2024, the zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is next on our list of the greatest zoos in the United States to visit in the winter. With 140 acres of surface area, this amazing zoo is the largest in the US. There are more than 750 animals on these acres. Giraffes, penguins, elephants, and otters are among the zoological park’s most recognisable creatures.

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo organises a light event, just like a lot of the zoos on this list. Electric Safari is a light show that takes place on a few days between December 1, 2023, and January 1, 2024.

To have fun, though, you don’t have to attend the lighting event. Another option for visitors is to spend a day in the zoo, wrapped up in blankets. This zoo also features a variety of animal presentations, such as feeding penguins, training barn owls, training skunks, and meeting hippos. Visit the zoo’s website to view the schedule of activities.

4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Rd,
Colorado Springs, CO 80906

Unless there is an event, the zoo is open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Atlanta Zoo

Did you know that Atlanta, Georgia, also has a zoo? Atlanta’s Zoo has a rich past. 1889 saw its founding. Since its opening, the zoo has been located in Grant Park. Over a million visitors annually enjoy the 40-acre zoo, which is home to numerous habitats. The Asian Forest, African Savanah, Scaly Slimy Spectacular: The Amphibian and Reptile Experience, and Orkin Children’s Zoo are some of the zoo’s habitats. Goats, pigs, and sheep of all kinds are available for guests to pet and engage with at the Orkin Children’s Zoo.

Zoo Atlanta offers animal viewing opportunities without requiring you to leave the comforts of your home. Additionally, visitors can view enormous pandas in real time via the zoo’s live Panda Cam.

Visit the zoo for IllumiNights: A Chinese Lantern Festival if you want to get an opportunity to examine the animals at night, even though the majority of them are asleep or elsewhere.

800 Cherokee Ave SE,
Atlanta, GA 30315

The hours vary depending on the season.
Generally, the zoo is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


In Florida, winter is a fantastic time to visit the zoo. There’s no need to worry about snow because the weather is mild! On about 63 acres of land, ZooTampa is located. It was once known as Lowry Park Zoo and Lowry Park Zoological Garden, and it is located in Lowry Park.

During the day, there are a tonne of exhibits to check out. The Asian Gardens, Florida Wildlife Centre, Safari Africa, Primate World, Main Aviary, and other sections are open for guests to stroll around. Animals including American alligators, red wolves, striped skunks, and Malayan tigers can be seen at the several exhibitions.

You may visit the zoo both during the day and at night. Christmas in the Wild, which takes place at ZooTampa on certain nights in November and December, is a well-liked wintertime celebration.

1101 W. Sligh Ave.
Tampa, FL 33604

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Audubon Zoo (New Orleans)

Did you know that New Orleans is home to a zoo? A popular place to visit in the winter is the Audubon Zoo. This magnificent zoo has been around for more than a century. It has about 2,000 animals and opened its doors in 1914.

What is on display at this Louisiana zoo, then? You can stroll through the Sea Lion Exhibit, Louisiana Swamp, Jaguar Jungle, Cool Zoo, and Bambu Village attractions. In addition to these displays, guests can pay “wild encounters” to interact closely and personally with animals. Interacting with orangutans is a favourite nature experience.

Would you like to go to an aquarium? Additionally, there’s an Audobon Aquarium. It has more than 3,600 animals and is located on the Mississippi River.

6500 Magazine St,
New Orleans, LA 70118

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, Nebraska, is the final zoo in our list of the top ten U.S. zoos to visit in the winter. The Desert Dome, the Lied Jungle, the Bay Family Children’s Adventure Trails, the Berniece Grewcock Butterfly and Insect Pavilion, and much more are just a few of the attractions this place has to offer.

Visitors are welcome to attend the Zoolightful event in November and December. There are beautiful lights during this event. Attendees can also enjoy this light spectacle by renting an igloo.

3701 S 10th St,
Omaha, NE 68107

Hours: The general zoo has varying hours for admittance.
The zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from April 1 to October 31.
The zoo is open from 10 am to 4 pm from November 1 to March 31.