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Phoenix Zoo's ZooLights adds cruise nights to walking options this holiday season

This season's ZooLights will feature more event nights, an earlier start date, a new path and more.

PHOENIX — It appears the pandemic will not dim one of the Valley's biggest holiday traditions, but it has altered it.

COVID-19 has changed a lot for us this year. But we're already looking ahead to the holidays and so are the teams at the Phoenix Zoo, as they're working on their annual ZooLights event.

Since June, a small crew of only four people at the Phoenix Zoo have been quietly transforming their walkways. Justin Davis is the ZooLights supervisor who leads the team prepping for the holiday favorite. 

"You just know that the end result is what you want so you just push through it, because you know families are going to come out here and you know they're going to enjoy it," Davis said.

Guests can even see some twinkles in the trees now, building up the excitement.

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"They need to have something to look forward to and be excited about," Davis said.

This year with COVID-19, Davis says they're covering all of the bases to keep the annual tradition open one way or another.

"They can all get together, come out here even if it is in a car all together, enjoy the lights enjoy the holidays," he said. 

Davis says they started hanging lights early to be ready for anything.

There are plans for both walking and new this year, drive-thru viewing. There's also a new path to see and more nights to enjoy.

“We’re actually opened until the end of January, so the longer run time and bigger footprint of ZooLights," Davis said. "You can kind of plan it accordingly and keep yourself socially distanced from other people."

It's a special event for Arizona in the middle of a season of hope, following months of uncertainty.

"I really think it's going to be a special year," he said.

For details on ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo this upcoming season, click here. Tickets go on sale on Oct. 1 and the event officially kicks off on Nov. 7.