ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into year two, there are some changes to the New Mexico BioPark Society’s River of Lights event. The River of Lights runs from Nov. 27 – Dec. 30 (closed on Dec. 24 and Dec. 25). Below is everything you need to know about this year’s event.

Ticket Information

The River of Lights event will have timed tickets. They will also need to be bought in advance online.

  • Monday-Thursday: $14 adults, $7 children 3-12
  • Friday-Sunday: $17 adults, $9 children 3-12
  • Free for 2 and under (do not need a ticket)

Also, note that tickets are valid only for the date and time specified on the ticket. Early entry is not available and the last entry is at 9 p.m. Ticket refunds will not be available because the River of Lights is a fundraiser.

COVID-19 Safety Protocols

Outdoors: Protective masks are optional for fully vaccinated River of Lights guests. If you are not fully vaccinated, wear a mask and practice social distancing at all times.

Indoors: Masks are required for all River of Lights guests while indoors, including but not limited to Park & Ride buses, Shark Reef Café, and restrooms.

To facilitate social distancing and prevent overcrowding there will also be a one-way path. COVID-safe practices are subject to change based on New Mexico Department of Health requirements and the ABQ BioPark.

Park & Ride

Pick up will be at the ABQ BioPark Zoo and drop off will be at the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden. If you have a stroller, please fold your stroller as you approach the line. Park & Ride is from 5 p.m to 10 p.m. on select nights:

  • Nov. 27-28
  • Dec. 3-5
  • Dec. 10-12
  • Nightly: Dec. 14-30

Other River of Lights Features

The Polar Bear Express is down for the season. However, the River of Lights crew is working hard to bring families a new Santa experience. “We’re offering Santa’s Workshop where they’ll get to go and take their picture with Santa, make a s’more with some upgraded toppings and make an ornament that they get to take home,” said Taylor Pellegrini, River of Lights Events Director.

Even with the changes, Pellegrini says the team is excited to show off the latest displays. “We’ll have a new light tunnel and a lot of cool features back there that we have not been able to do in the past.”

Prices for Santa’s Workshop are:

  • Adults (13+): $25
  • Children (3-12): $20
  • Toddlers (2 and under): $12