Columbus Zoo 

The holidays have officially arrived at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium as we celebrate Jack Hanna’s Home for the Holidays event, featuring Santa Paws, on Saturday, December 7! Throughout the day, Santa Paws makes a special appearance to deliver enrichment gifts to animal habitats. Later, Zoo guests will also have the opportunity to enjoy Jack Hanna’s “Home for the Holidays” stage show, which will be offered three times during the Zoo’s annual Wildlights, efficiently powered by AEP Ohio, event that evening.

In the spirit of giving, guests will receive free admission for the day as a “thank you” when they donate any of the approved animal enrichment items from the Zoo’s wish list, available on the’s event page.

“This is my favorite time of year at the Zoo,” said Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. “Wildlights is a tradition for my family and we look forward to spending it with the families in Central Ohio.”

“As Jack continues to travel across the globe raising awareness about different species and the work that the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium does to save wildlife and wild places, we are extremely proud to offer our guests the special opportunity to join us in welcoming Jack home for the holidays,” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President/CEO Tom Stalf.

Jack Hanna’s first stage appearance takes place at 6 p.m., with two additional times at 7:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on the outdoor Surfin’ Safari Stage, surrounded by the twinkling of the winter Wildlights.

Guests are also encouraged to come to the Zoo a few hours early as Santa Paws will bring holiday cheer to the animals during their version of Christmas morning from 10:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.! All presents for the animals are seasonal versions of the enrichment they receive throughout the year, and wrapped in materials that are safe for each animal. These enrichment items, from boomer balls to sensory snacks, will encourage behaviors characteristic to their species—an exciting event that is fun for all! To see the gifting schedule, visit

Wildlights, Santa Paws and Jack Hanna’s “Home for the Holidays” are all included with paid Zoo admission, Zoo membership or with a qualifying donation of enrichment on this date. Visit for more details about these events.