San Francisco zoo will kick off ZooLights

The San Francisco Zoo on Friday will celebrate the start of its annual ZooLights holiday nighttime experience.

The family-friendly program, which will run through Dec. 30, starts at 5 p.m. Friday with the lighting of a Christmas tree, along with offerings of live music, food and drinks and a visit from Santa Claus.

This year’s program includes Reindeer Village, an attraction near the zoo’s playground that will feature live reindeer and snow flurries, antd Winter Wonderland, an attraction located near the Lion Fountain that will have local vendors, food, drinks and live music, zoo officials said.

Children will have an opportunity to take pictures with Santa in the nearby Lion House at no charge, according to the zoo.

Animals including giraffes and penguins will be visible in their exhibits during ZooLights, which will run from 5-8 p.m. daily. The program will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and visits with Santa will end after Christmas.

Zoo members will be admitted free of charge, while tickets for other visitors will be $8 for adults and $6 for kids 4 to 14 years old.

Children 3 and under will be free.

For the opening weekend of ZooLights, the zoo is partnering with PLAE Shoes to offer a complimentary pair of shoes to the first 1,000 children with paid admission while supplies last. For every pair of shoes distributed, the zoo and shoe company will also donate a pair to local children’s charities.

More information about ZooLights and other events at the zoo can be found at www.sfzoo.org.