I have visited the beautiful Zoo Lights on several occasions pre-kids, this year when my BFF was in town we decided to take little Monkey on his first Zoo Lights excursion.
First few things to consider:
1. Bundle up! Even if it seems warm outside, as soon as that sun goes down it gets cold!
2. If you can, avoid going on the weekend! In a failed attempt to go the weekend before Christmas with my parents we learned that the Zoo lights on a weekend have insane line ups!
3. You can enter the Zoo before 5pm and stay for the Zoo Lights. My Zoo membership does not have Zoo Lights included, but one of the staff told me we can enter before 5 and just stay :)
Zoo Lights with a toddler are a less pleasurable experience then on your own, and I'm sure this also varies from family to family and depends on your child's temperament. Monkey hates wearing clothes, and hates bundling up. So snow suit and boots make him grumpy. He also isn't a fan of the dark, and basically wanted to be in my arms most of the time (refused to sit in the stroller). He would run around the well lit areas but as soon as we walked into a darker place I'd the the 'mama up, mama up'. We spent about 90 minutes there and by the end of it I was exhausted!
I also found that most of the fun interactive areas that existed at Zoo Lights several years ago are now gone. It seemed that this year it was more just lights and less of the extras. It's still beautiful but I remember it being better.
So overall my take-aways:
1. I think this experience would be better with slightly older kids, about 4 and up.
2. Next time we will arrive at the Zoo earlier, use our pass to get in and stay for the lights.
3. If going to Zoo Lights with our toddler make sure daddy comes so that he can carry Monkey.