Zoo Lights and the Willard Hotel during the Holidays

Alexandra Keleti

December 12, 2022

On a beautiful December night, Zach and I visited the Zoo Lights at the Smithsonian National Zoo. There were artistic displays of glowing animal replicas all throughout the zoo and as we went on our festive walk, we saw a spirited performance of Irish tap dancing. We drank hot cocoa topped with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle while meandering through thick crowds of people.

The brightly lit sign arching over the entrance of the Zoo Lights event.
Alexandra stands by a panda munching on bamboo!
A group of girls perform an Irish dance routine for the Zoo’s visitors.
Zach smiles in front of a glowing turtle.
Throughout the zoo, there were holiday and winter-themed shapes shining on the pavement.

We also toured the historic Willard Hotel and got to see the festive decorations throughout. The Willard hotel is considered historically significant for several different reasons. Abraham Lincoln stayed the hotel in the days leading up to his inauguration. It was where the Battle Hymn of the Republic was written and where the term “lobbyist” was first made popular.

During this holiday season, the Willard has a spectacular gingerbread house replicating the Willard Hotel and Willard Office. They have a grand Christmas Tree in the lobby and the tea-time room features a harpist playing lovely music.

The spectacular gingerbread house replicating the Willard Hotel and Willard Office.
A small girl excitedly points at the gingerbread house.
A beautiful Christmas tree in the grand hotel lobby.
A harpist plays delicate music as guests enjoy the hotel’s traditional tea-time.