Ticket feature: ‘Christmas Nites’ opening at zoo

File photo Santa will make appearances at the Hillcrest Park Zoo’s “Christmas Nites at the Zoo” program Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The event runs 5-8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Freedom New Mexico

The upcoming week features plenty of animal magnetism, as the Hillcrest Park Zoo gets set for its annual Christmas Nites at the Zoo celebration.

The event is in its third year, with the zoo open extended hours of 5-8 p.m., in addition to its normal winter hours of 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Tuesday through Dec. 19.

Each night features lights displays — some inflated, some mechanical built to resemble live animals — and opportunities for photos with live animals featured at the zoo, located next to Hillcrest Park on Sycamore Street.

The zoo does charge for prints of photos — $5 for the first photo and $3 for reprints — but also offers free hot cocoa and cider each night.

The program alternates throughout the five days. Santa will make a trio of appearances — Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday — with some of the zoo’s smaller animals.

For the second year in a row, a Nativity scene with baby animals will be offered. This will be for the Wednesday and Friday sessions.