Calgary Zoo lights
Each year the Calgary Zoo transforms itself into a winter wonderland to celebrate the holiday season with Zoolights. It boasts over 1.5 million lights, light displays, a skating rink, outdoor firepits, activities for the kids and free visits with Santa.I had the opportunity to take my 4 year old son to the Calgary Zoo lights this past weekend. [blockquote right=”pull-right” cite=”Sarah Elle”]We walked through the gates and instantly felt as though we had walked into a real wonderland. [/blockquote]
The lights had the park lit up so beautifully, there was the sound and smell of a crackling, wood-burning fire, Christmas music and laughter. You could really feel the joy and happiness in the air from everyone inside the park. Each staff member we passed had a smile on their face; the families, couples and groups of friends; everyone we came across was having a great time. I couldn’t count the number of times I overheard a child, and the odd grown-up, say “Wow, look at that!” As we walked, my son made us stop at each outdoor fireplace to “warm our hands.” With each stop we would have a small chat with those around the fire which gave it a nice cozy feeling, like reconnecting with friends you haven’t seen in a long time. At one of the fireplaces my son struck up a conversation with a lady drinking hot chocolate – he of course wanted to know where she got it from – you can’t be in a winter wonderland without a warm drink in hand.
Along the way to get hot chocolate, we took part in the activities like building a snowman, adding our wish to the Wishing Tree, joining in the Lollypop Rock Band, walking through the Enchanted Forest and Lovers Lane. We found the line for hot chocolate and after only a few seconds of waiting, a lady from the front of the line came up to us and asked if my son would like a cup of hot chocolate because she had ordered one extra. And who was standing with her, my sons new friend who was chatting with us earlier by the fire with the hot chocolate. We had a chuckle, thanked her and my son happily drank his hot chocolate.
I saved the visit with Santa til the very end. I’m pretty sure the Zoo brought in the real deal from the North Pole. This Santa was amazing, he took his time with each child and we weren’t rushed when snapping a few photos. He even let my son give his beard a pull just to make sure it was real.
With the busyness of the holidays it gets to be so easy to forget to actually enjoy the holidays. This is what Zoolights gave me, a chance to slow down and enjoy making Christmas memories with my son.
When I asked him on the ride home what he liked best he responded “The lights were nice, Santa was cool but my favourite was the hot chocolate.”
I encourage everyone to go and experience Zoolights, it’s more than just twinkling lights, it is a wonderland and will become our new family tradition.