New theater takes center stage at Zoolights 2003

The new Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater takes center stage for Zoolights 2003 at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

Lit pathways will lead to the theater, which itself will become a dazzling Zoolights display.

The theater, with covered seating for 350 people, also will be home to performances most night when Zoolights is open.

Zoolights opens Friday, Nov. 28, and runs through Sunday, Jan. 4.

The glittering light display depicts local landmarks, including Mount Rainier and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, as well as animal animations, nursery rhyme characters and other designs.

The festive family atmosphere invites visitors to stroll glowing pathways, enjoy holiday music, sip hot cocoa and browse one-of-a-kind holiday gifts.

On brisk evenings, visitors can warm up inside the South Pacific Aquarium, home to sharks and other tropical sea creatures.

This year, the North Pacific Aquarium will be available for private parties.
This year’s Zoolights media sponsors are KISS 106.1 FM radio and The News Tribune.

Zoolights at a glance:

– When: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Nov. 28 through Jan. 4 (closed Dec. 1-Dec. 3 and Dec. 24-Dec. 25).

– Where: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, 5400 N. Pearl St., Tacoma.

– Cost: $4 at the gate; $3.50 if purchased in advance. Advance tickets available in person at Puget Sound Albertson’s stores and before 4 p.m. each day at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

– Parking: Free in zoo parking lots (please note the lower lot is reserved for disabled parking and bus drop offs). If lots are full, free shuttle buses will run between the zoo and satellite parking areas in Point Defiance Park.

– Details: Call 253/591-5337 or go online to

And for you trivia buffs, did you know…

– The zoo powers Zoolights with a special “green power” purchase through Tacoma Power. Green power is electricity generated by non-polluting resources, such as wind. The zoo also uses low-energy lights.

– Virtually all Zoolights displays were hand-crafted by the zoo staff.

– Flame Tree: 18,000 purple lights, 10,000 green lights and 4,000 amber lights.

– Miles of lights: 50 (250,000 feet)

– Sets of lights: 10,000

– Miles of extension cords: 7

– How many hours to put it up: 8,000 staff hours