This year our zoo started a new tradition of putting up a whole lot of Christmas lights and inviting the public to come by after dark to view them. Another nearby zoo has been doing this for 25 years now and it is immensely popular. As members, we got to go to a “members only” night before the general public. This was great because it was much less crowded and included free parking, not to mention the fun of being there for the very first night ever of this new tradition. The downside is that it decided to monsoon that day, so there was a very real chance we were going to drown somewhere near the alligator exhibit. As luck had it though, the weather held for most of the time we were there. The one time it started to really pour down, we were in an indoor light exhibit.
Zoey was thrilled by the whole experience. She loves the zoo anyway, but add in Christmas lights, Grandma and Grandpa, and getting to run around outside unrestrained after dinner and she was just out. of. her. mind. The zoo did a really great job of making this a fun experience for the little ones, in my opinion. They have a building that’s basically a zoo twist on a toddler and preschooler play gym which they turned into a “snow” themed wonderland for this event. The kids could build “snowmen,” have a “snowball” fight, and climb and play to their little hearts’ content in a warm, dry place. There was the world’s largest felt board with a tree for the kids to decorate with felt leaves and woodland animals. A zoo staff member even rounded up all the kids at one point to read them a story about a snowman and got all the kids participating in a giant “snowball” fight. Zoey loved it.