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As the second most visited zoo in the nation, the Houston Zoo knows how to create a stellar attraction — and nothing shines brighter than over 2 million Christmas lights.

Families travel from all over to sip on cocoa and bounce to holiday hits as they enjoy Zoo Lights, a holiday tradition since its 2012 opening.

RELATED: Houston zoo sets a record to become the 2nd most visited zoo in the nation

However, not everyone has a choice in whether or not to attend.

For the animals living in the zoo, the holiday light show is non-optional, but the zoo’s team of experts is there to mitigate disturbances to the animals.

The Houston Zoo’s animal welfare team spoke with the Houston Chronicle about how they protect the animals during Zoo Lights.

“We have to manage the expectations of this event while also making sure the animals get the sleep they want and deserve,” said Hannah Bailey, curator of natural encounters and birds. “This is an event at the zoo but it’s not about the animals. It’s beautiful setting and place but it’s not about seeing animals.”

Zoo staff say visitors can help protect the animals, too.

Flashlights and camera lights are bad for animals who need to be left alone at night. Additionally, guests should stay on the official Zoo Lights paths, no matter how much they might want to sneak off to see their favorite critter.

RELATED: Houston holiday favorite Zoo Lights is open — here’s what you need to know

You can visit Zoo Lights until Jan. 14, 2018, though it will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

If you want a closer look at the attraction, check out the video below the Houston Chronicle posted to Facebook.

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