Almost 3-million bulbs will light the night as the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium celebrates the holidays.

Almost 3-million bulbs will light the night as the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium celebrates the holidays.

Zoo employees were decorating up to the last minute for the 22nd annual Wildlights that runs from Nov. 19 to Jan. 1.

Although the zoo strung up nearly 3-million LED lights last year, a few more were added for the newest display this year.

"We had around 3-million last year, but we did add new lights to the Polar Frontier area," zoo communications manager Jennifer Wilson said. "They're all LEDs. We switched over a couple years ago. We did half of the zoo in 2008 and the other half in 2009, so everything is LED this year. Everything we purchase going forward is LED."

LED bulbs boast both brighter light and less energy consumption. The latter is a winner with the zoo, which strives for conservation.

"We have noticed savings," Wilson said.

Lights twinkling around the zoo won't be all that's in store for this year's Wildlights.

The Magical Timbernacle Forest Chorus of 29 singing animatronic trees will serenade the zoo's new Polar Frontier with its show, "A Very Beary Royal Holiday."

Because the zoo's new polar bears arrived in February, Wilson said she's not sure if twin sisters Aurora and Anana will partake in the lights show for now.

"Because we're closed at night, I'm not sure if they'll be out or not. Wildlights will be a test," she said. "They will be given the option of being out in the yard or in their holding area. It will be up to the animals to be where they want to be. Many of the animals you can see during Wildlights."

The zoo will have holiday movie replica on display in the North America region; guests can see memory boxes with memorabilia from movies including "A Christmas Story," "Elf" and "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

At Conservation Lake, the "Rhythms Around the Watering Hole" light and music show will run every half-hour starting at 5 p.m.

The summer animal show will take a twist for the holidays with "Animals of Safari: Holidays at the Camp."

Santa will also be on hand during Wildlights in the Holiday Encounters Village and Wilson said visitors can get a photo with Santa's transportation this year.

"We will have reindeer, but on select nights, we will have reindeer that guests can get photos taken with," she said.

Also in the Holiday Encounters area is a new light show, "Rodney and Wally's Not-So-Silent Night."

"Last year, we introduced a second light show. This year, we still have that show, but we've scripted it and it's like a comedy act between Rodney the Reindeer and Wally the Walrus," Wilson said. "It's pretty cute and I can't wait to see it set to lights."

During Wildlights, the zoo will also hold a live taping of Jack Hanna's Into the Wildlights at 7 p.m. Dec. 3.

Jack Hanna's Home for the Holidays will be held on Dec. 4 as animals are treated to holiday gifts for enrichment from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hanna will perform in the evening with animals from the Animals on Safari show.

Colo, the first gorilla born at a zoo and the oldest gorilla living at a zoo, will celebrate her 54th birthday on Dec. 22.

New Year's will also be celebrated with "Zoo Year's Eve" Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.

Wildlights is open from 5 to 9 p.m. every Sunday through Thursday and from 5 to 10 p.m. each Friday and Saturday from Nov. 19 to Jan. 1.

More information is available online at