Christmas comes early at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium: Saturday, Dec. 10 with Santa Paws, who makes special deliveries to animal habitats, and continues with Jack Hanna’s “Home for the Holidays” three stage shows during Wildlights. 

In the spirit of the season, free admission will be granted to those who donate an animal enrichment item from the Zoo’s wish list, available on the’s event page.

“They say home is where the heart is, and my heart is at the Columbus Zoo,” said Hanna, Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo. “I’ve collected countless animal adventures this past year, and can’t wait to share these stories with my friends in Central Ohio!”

Jack Hanna’s “Home for the Holidays” shows will be at 6, 7:15 and 8:30 p.m. on the Animals on Safari Stage. 

Guests are encouraged to come a few hours early, because Santa Paws will be delivering the animals’ version of Christmas morning from 10:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. During this time, select animals will receive wrapped enrichment toys, from boomer balls to sensory treats, to encourage behaviors characteristic of their species — which means you’ll get to experience the animal do all sorts of things you wish they did during your zoo visits. The presents are distributed on a schedule, which is posted on the event page at 

The presents are a seasonal version of enrichment provided to all Zoo animals throughout the year. Enrichment activities contribute to animal welfare, so the Zoo is offering free admission to those who are willing to donate an item.

Both special events and Wildlights are included with paid Zoo admission, Zoo membership, or with a qualifying donation of an enrichment item on this date. Because of the “Home for the Holidays” shows, there will be no character stage shows on this day. More details are available at

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