Experience the Magic of Zoominescence: A Winter Light Festival at the Edmonton Valley Zoo

Winter in Edmonton brings with it a unique and enchanting experience that captivates both locals and visitors alike—Zoominescence at the Edmonton Valley Zoo. This magical event transforms the zoo into a dazzling winter wonderland, with thousands of sparkling lights illuminating the night sky. In this blog, we’ll delve into the enchanting atmosphere of Zoominescence, exploring its attractions and highlights, and providing tips on how to make the most of your visit.

A Dazzling Wonderland of Lights

As you step into the Edmonton Valley Zoo during Zoominescence, you are greeted by a mesmerizing display of lights that turn the familiar surroundings into a magical realm. The entire zoo is adorned with intricate light installations, ranging from majestic animals aglow with colours to whimsical holiday-themed creations that bring the spirit of the season to life.

One of the festival’s remarkable aspects is its commitment to conservation and education. Amidst the dazzling lights, visitors can find displays and information highlighting the zoo’s efforts in wildlife preservation. It’s a perfect blend of entertainment and enlightenment, making Zoominescence a visual feast and an opportunity to learn and connect with the importance of wildlife conservation.

Activities and Entertainment

At Zoominescence, the activities and entertainment options are as diverse as the winter lights that adorn the Edmonton Valley Zoo. Beyond the enchanting displays, the festival invites visitors to delve into the world of wildlife through a variety of engaging experiences.

Animal Talks
One of the highlights is the series of captivating animal talks conducted by knowledgeable EVZ Zookeepers. In the intimate setting of the Otter Room, attendees can get up close and personal with these aquatic marvels during the Otter Talk sessions. Discover the endearing characteristics and survival strategies of these playful otters, gaining insights into their lives in the Arctic waters. Meanwhile, the Lynx Talk, set against the backdrop of the lynx enclosure, uncovers the mysteries of the Canadian Lynx – from their natural snowshoes to their nocturnal habits. It’s a chance to deepen your appreciation for these beautiful creatures while understanding their vital role in the ecosystem.

For a unique spectacle, don’t miss the Otter Feeding session at Arctic Shores. Witness the zookeepers’ dedication as they share fascinating facts about otter behaviour and survival in cold Arctic waters while the otters showcase their impressive feeding skills.

And, of course, as part of the festive spirit, there’s a dedicated Reindeer Talk. Learn about Santa’s furry helpers, their adaptations to cold climates, and their important role in holiday folklore. It’s a delightful experience for visitors of all ages, combining education with the joy of the season.

Character Performers
Adding an extra layer of enchantment to Zoominescence are the character performers. Fairy Tale Fridays transport attendees into the world of magic with characters like Anna and Belle. On specific dates, from December 1 to December 15, these beloved characters come to life at the Saito Center. Anna greets visitors from 5-7 PM, followed by Belle from 6-8 PM, creating a fairy tale ambiance that resonates with both children and adults.

Superhero Saturdays take the festivities to another level with appearances by Spiderman and Wonder Woman. On December 2, 9, and 16, Spiderman entertains from 5-7 PM, followed by Wonder Woman from 6-8 PM at the Saito Center. It’s an opportunity for superhero fans to meet their idols in a magical setting.

As the holiday season approaches, Zoominescence transforms into a Holiday Week extravaganza featuring Elsa and the Grinch. From December 18 to 23, Elsa graces the Saito Center from 5-7 PM, while the Grinch spreads holiday cheer from 6-8 PM at the Entry Plaza. The blend of beloved characters and festive cheer makes Zoominescence a must-visit family event.

Art Installations
The heart of Zoominescence lies in its stunning art installations, each carrying a profound message about conservation and the delicate balance of ecosystems.

The Porcupine Lantern, a masterpiece of sustainable art, sheds light on the conservation efforts of porcupines. Beyond their prickly appearance, these creatures play a pivotal role as ecosystem engineers, shaping habitats for a variety of wildlife. The installation, crafted from recycled materials, serves as a reminder that every creature, no matter how small, contributes to the intricate web of life.

The Ice Walker Polar Bear, a life-sized sculpture in motion, stands as both an artistic marvel and a symbol of the challenges faced by polar bears in a changing climate. Created with recycled and reclaimed materials, this installation is not just a visual masterpiece, but also an eloquent statement on the importance of using resources wisely.

Northern Spirits, a hexagonal photo op, pays homage to iconic northern animals and serves as a reminder of the delicate balance of the Northern ecosystem. Crafted from reclaimed wood, the installation showcases the beauty of animals like the bison, polar bear, and snowy owl while highlighting the urgent need for conservation.

Love Each Otter is a testament to the success of wildlife conservation. The installation, featuring two six-foot-tall North American River Otters, celebrates their resilience and successful reintroduction to their native habitats. Lit by LED lights, the heart in the center symbolizes the love and hope that went into their conservation journey.

Finally, Impact, an interactive drumming experience, engages visitors in a powerful message about collective action. As drums are played, a wave of blue light illuminates a pillar adorned with graphics of endangered animals, including a Polar Bear, Beluga Whale, Snowy Owl, and Arctic Wolf. This installation not only captivates the audience but also encourages reflection on the impact of individual actions on endangered species.

Culinary Delights

As you wander through the enchanting displays at Zoominescence, the festival doesn’t just delight your senses visually; it invites you on a culinary journey that complements the winter wonderland atmosphere. From festive snacks to hearty meals, the diverse food options available cater to every palate, ensuring that your taste buds are as satisfied as your eyes are mesmerized.

Charity Cafe
Located in the Entry Plaza, the Charity Cafe is a haven for those seeking a moment of respite. Here, visitors can indulge in various espresso-crafted beverages, teas, cold drinks, and blended drinks. If you find yourself in need of a savoury bite or want to satisfy your sweet tooth, the cafe also offers an array of sandwiches and an assortment of delicious cafe treats. Even non-coffee enthusiasts have plenty of options, including refreshing pops, juices, and lemonades.

Farmer’s Kitchen
Nestled in the heart of the Urban Farm, the Farmer’s Kitchen beckons with a classic hot menu featuring an array of culinary delights. From ice-cream novelties to fresh and bagged popcorn, cotton candy, and chocolate bars, this eatery caters to those with a sweet tooth. However, the menu extends beyond indulgent treats, offering refreshments and even some healthy alternatives for those seeking a balanced culinary experience. Whether you’re in the mood for a comforting hot meal or a delightful snack to fuel your adventure, Farmer’s Kitchen provides a diverse selection to suit all tastes.

Planning Your Visit

For a seamless and magical experience at Zoominescence, careful planning is key. The festival unfolds on specific dates, offering a myriad of activities to immerse yourself in the enchantment. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your visit:

Dates and Time: Zoominescence, presented by The King’s University, is set to captivate visitors from December 1 to January 3. The festival takes place every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening, extending to every evening from December 15 to January 3, with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The illuminated wonderland is open from 4:30 PM to 9:00 PM, providing ample time to explore the artistic light installations and partake in the festivities.

Ticket Information: To ensure a hassle-free entry into this winter spectacle, it’s advisable to secure your tickets in advance. Tickets for Zoominescence are available online at MoveLearnPlay. This convenient option allows you to plan your visit efficiently and guarantees your spot at this spectacular exhibition of light installations.

Parking, Transportation, and Accessibility: Before embarking on your Zoominescence adventure, consider the logistics of parking, transportation, and accessibility. The Edmonton Valley Zoo provides parking facilities, but these may fill up quickly during peak times. Consider carpooling, using public transportation, or arriving early to secure a convenient parking spot. The festival organizers are committed to providing accessibility for all visitors, so if you have specific needs, it’s advisable to check the festival’s official website or contact organizers in advance for assistance.

Zoominescence at the Edmonton Valley Zoo is more than just a light festival; it’s a celebration of community, conservation, and winter magic. As you bask in the enchanting glow of lights and partake in engaging activities, remember the significance of supporting wildlife conservation.

Book your stay at Edmonton’s Best Hotels to extend the magic beyond the festival grounds and to take advantage of our 1, 2, 3 Reward Deal, where you can get up to $225 in rewards just for staying in one of our luxurious member hotels. Let Zoominescence be the highlight of your winter, bringing joy, wonder, and a sense of unity to the Edmonton community.

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Terms and Conditions

The “1,2, 3 Pick Your Rewards”, Terms and Conditions and Blackout Dates 

Rewards Program campaign dates

Reward package available to book from January 5, 2022 for stays to December 31, 2024 for rewards except for possible blackout dates. At present there are no blackout dates scheduled.

Rewards are subject to while supplies last.  Substitutions of equivalent kind, value may be made as necessary.  Rewards are non-transferable, no cash value, no cash back.

  • Rewards are non-transferable, non-exchangeable, have no cash value, no cash back.
  • Rewards cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion.
  • Reward deal is net non-commissionable.

Blackout dates

At present there are no blackout dates scheduled. 

In the event blackout dates are scheduled, any guest who makes a booking for a hotel stay during the blackout period prior to the blackout period being named will receive the rewards they are booked for. 

Rewards Program offerings

Book one night’s stay with Edmonton’s Best Hotels and receive your choice of one of three $50 rewards excluding blackout dates:

  • $50 Gas Card or
  • $50 Prepaid Mastercard, or
  • $50 Ultimate Dining Card

Book two night’s stay with Edmonton’s Best Hotels and receive your choice of one of five reward packages excluding blackout dates:

  • $150 prepaid MasterCard, or
  • $75 Gas card and $75 MasterCard, or
  • $75 Gas card and $75 Ultimate Dining Card, or

Book three night’s stay with Edmonton’s Best Hotels and receive your choice of one of four reward packages excluding blackout dates:

  • Three Night Reward 1: $225 Prepaid Mastercard
  • Three Night Reward 3: $75 Ultimate Dining Card + $75 Prepaid Mastercard + $75 Gas Card

One choice of reward per stay. 

Guest must be 18 years of age or older at time of redemption. 

Prepaid Mastercard’s can be used for online purchases only. In Canada, prepaid Mastercard’s cannot be used at any retail outlet (including your hotel) with point-of-sale systems.

Rewards distribution

Rewards will be emailed directly to guests within 48 hours of Edmonton’s Best Hotels confirming their check-in.  Rewards are not provided by the hotel’s front desk.   All rewards are sent electronically. 


Guest must reserve a minimum of 24 hours prior to arrival.

Rewards are NOT available for reservations made less than 24 hours in advance of arrival.

Reservations made directly with hotels and not through Edmonton’s Best Hotels are not eligible for rewards. No exceptions. Rewards are only provided to guests who book through Edmonton’s Best Hotels online booking platform.  Booking reservation confirmations will have Edmonton’s Best Hotels branding on them. Rewards not provided for hotel reservations during specified blackout dates.

Reservations cannot be extended by hotels for additional rewards.

Guests may add a night to an existing one-night deal reservation and receive additional rewards if the request is made a minimum of 24 hours in advance of arrival.

Booking terms and conditions

Rewards provided for more than one night, must be for consecutive nights under one registration under one name at one property. In addition, no more than up to three consecutive nights will be honoured. If a guest checks in for three days and then checks out and re-checks in for the next day, this is considered a consecutive night booking even if the second booking is made at different hotel.  

There must be a minimum of three days between bookings.

Multiple reservations for the same person for the same night(s) is considered a double booking and only one of those bookings will be eligible for rewards. For example, if a guest books two nights on x and y date and then makes another two-night booking for the same dates at the same hotel or another hotel, EBH considers this a double booking and will honour rewards for only one of those bookings. 

Is there a limit on the number of bookings I make on different dates?  Edmonton Best Hotels welcomes repeat business.  Some of our guests visit Edmonton every month.  Please note as stated earlier there must be a minimum of three days between bookings. Please also note stated blackout dates.

Cancelling and date changes to reservations

If a guest wants to cancel or change the dates of their booking.

What if I want to cancel my booking?  Edmonton Best Hotels must cancel your booking (not the hotel).  If you want to cancel, contact info@edmh.ca and let us know.  We will cancel your booking and send you a cancellation number for your records.  Please do not cancel directly with the hotel.

What if I want to change the dates of my booking?  You must contact Edmonton Best Hotels at info@edmh.ca and let us know you want to make a date change.  Your original booking must be cancelled first.  You will receive a cancellation number for your records.  Then, you must rebook for your new dates.  The hotel nor Edmonton’s Best Hotels cannot make date changes to the original booking.  Please note this does not guarantee you will receive the same hotel rate when you rebook for different dates.

Any questions, please contact Edmonton Best Hotels at info@edmh.ca 

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