About Nature Illuminated
This winter, there's a magical world waiting for you at the Minnesota Zoo. Join us for Nature Illuminated: a one-of-a-kind drive-thru experience featuring stunning light work and larger-than-life animal art installations. Nature Illuminated invites you on a spectacular journey into a world of art, awe and light, all from the comfort of your own vehicle. Join us as we shine the spotlight on some of the world’s most endearing and endangered animals, and learn how our collective actions can help save our planet’s wildlife.
Thank you for your support of the Minnesota Zoo and our mission to connect people, animals, and the natural world to save wildlife.
Note: The last reservation time slot available is 30 minutes prior to the close of the Zoo.
RING IN 2021 WITH THE MINNESOTA ZOO!
The Zoo will offer extended hours New Year’s Eve.
Days of Week
Sunday - Thursday
5:00 – 9:00 PM
$50 per vehicle
$25 per vehicle
Friday - Saturday
5:00 – 11:00 PM
$60 per vehicle
$35 per vehicle
This season, shop with a purpose. Show your support of the Minnesota Zoo and shop our online gift store – now featuring Nature Illuminated and Holiday gift collections. Our fun selection of clothing, toys, plush, and more make great gifts for friends, family, or even yourself! Your purchase helps support the care of Zoo animals and our mission of connecting people and nature to save wildlife.
Brilliant beauty can be found in natural landscapes, and also in the wildlife that call these backdrops home. Join us as we shed light on some endangered and endearing animals from around the globe. Download a Nature Illuminated Map
Produced locally by Landmark Creations in Burnsville, Minnesota, each inflatable is individually crafted by artists with reusable materials. Over the years, their custom work has been featured at the MTV Video Music Awards, Coachella, the GRAMMY Awards and many other prominent concerts and events around the country.
From initial artistic design through final event setup, it can take up to six weeks for the talented team at Landmark to expertly produce each custom-made illuminated art piece – ensuring Nature Illuminated is a one-of-kind experience you won’t find anywhere else!
Click on the video to the right and watch how a 30 foot red panda was created exclusively for Nature Illuminated.
Nature Illuminated is a one-of-a-kind drive-thru experience featuring stunning light work and large-scale animal art installations! This event invites you on a magical journey into a world of lights and wonder, all from the comfort of your own vehicle.
All tickets must be purchased in advance and online. Tickets for the event are not for sale at the Minnesota Zoo.
All tickets must be purchased in advance and online, including for Zoo Members. Minnesota Zoo Members are offered discounted pricing for this event.
Nature Illuminated is a new and unique event experience to support the Minnesota Zoo. Free to Explore tickets are not valid for this event. For more information on our Free to Explore program, visit https://mnzoo.org/us/freetoexplore/
The Nature Illuminated drive is ¾ mile long with a 30-minute audio tour. The pace of the event is relaxed and enjoyable. Vehicles will drive less than 2 mph and are encouraged to stop, look, take photos from inside your vehicle, and listen along through the audio tour.
Since tickets for the event are for a designated time and date, there is no need to arrive more than 5-10 minutes before your start time, unless you have purchased a Unique Experience.
There are ADA accessible portable restrooms located along the entrance route prior to ticket scanning and along the exit route.
Food will not be available onsite for this event.
As this is a limited-time and limited-capacity event, tickets cannot be transferred or exchanged for an alternate date or time.
When interacting with Zoo staff a face covering is required, such as during scanning of your ticket at entry or during a Unique Experience if you have purchased one. Face coverings and appropriate physical distancing are also required when using restroom facilities.
Yes, video and photography taken from inside your vehicle is permitted throughout the event.
You may bring your own food and drink, however tables and seating are not available. We recommend enjoying your food and non-alcoholic beverages in your vehicle.
Nature Illuminated is a drive-through event and can only be attended in a vehicle.
You must stay inside your vehicle unless using the restroom or during a Unique Experience, if you purchased one. Face coverings and appropriate physical distancing are required when not in your vehicle.
Nature Illuminated is a unique nighttime drive-thru experience that operates after regular Zoo hours and highlights the natural world through spectacular light-work and large-scale animal art installations. To see live animals at the Minnesota Zoo, please schedule a daytime visit with us during our regular hours by visiting www.mnzoo.org.
In the unlikely event that the show must be cancelled due to extreme circumstances, you will be notified by email and your ticket transferred to a different date and time.
If you are unable to find a friend or family member to attend with, we welcome Metro Mobility vehicles.
No RV’s, busses, or commercial vehicles are allowed. Vehicles may not exceed 15ft in length and 8ft in height. You must have a proper seat belt for each passenger. Children are allowed to exit their car seats only during the duration of the event drive. Upon exiting Nature Illuminated, please ensure all occupants are buckled before exiting the Zoo.
13000 Zoo Boulevard
Apple Valley, MN 55124
Subscribe to our Newsletter