POWELL, Ohio (WCMH)–The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium hosts a specialized event for families.

The sensory-friendly event Tuesday, Nov. 16, is for strolling and enjoying the light displays that are designed to meet the needs of those who may feel overwhelmed by a typical visit to Wildlights.

Visitors to the event should expect the following modifications to their Zoo experience:

  • There will be smaller crowds because there are limited tickets for this event.
  • Holiday music throughout the park will be turned off for the evening.
  • Strobing, flashing and blinking light effects will be dramatically reduced throughout the Zoo.
  • The North America Train and the Grand Carousel can be enjoyed for an additional fee. Music will be reduced, but safety messages and the train whistle will still be present.
  • Sensory kits with noise-canceling headphones, sunglasses, and fidget devices will be available at Guest Relations for a $10 refundable deposit.
  • A limited number of indoor areas will be open to guests.
  • Santa will not be at the Zoo for this event, but a special sensory-friendly Santa experience will be offered in December. Reservations will open soon!

Families are encouraged to visit the Columbus Zoo’s accessibility page to download sensory maps to prepare for their experience. These tools can provide valuable information about what to expect during a visit to the Zoo.

There is limited capacity for this event and reservations are required. Admission is FREE for members and $16.99 for general admission. Parking for this event is FREE.


While the sensory-friendly light stroll has passed, Wildlights opens for the season Nov. 19 and runs through Jan. 2, 2022 (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day).

Hours for the event are Sundays through Thursdays, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, 5 p.m to 10 p.m.

For more information, click here.