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ZOOrific Holiday Family Outings

Posted: December 4th, 2013 by

Flickr image by cliff1066 tm of Zoo Lights at the National Zoo

Flickr image by cliff1066 tm of Zoo Lights at the National Zoo


When was the last time you visited a zoo? If I am the example it more than likely was when you were a youngster, or your children or grandchildren were youngsters.

Flickr image by therichardlife

Flickr image by therichardlife

What could be more magical than Christmas at the zoo – with twinkling lights strung up along the walkways leading everyone to playful chimps, long-necked giraffes, big and fuzzy bears, or a magnificent tiger or two, amongst other creatures, sure to delight the whole family. More and more zoos decorate with lights and dazzling displays to encourage families to include animals in their holiday activities, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or any number of culturally traditional holidays during December and January.

Indianapolis Zoo at Christmastime (photo courtesy Indianpolis Zoo)

Indianapolis Zoo at Christmastime (photo courtesy Indianpolis Zoo)

It seems the Indianapolis Zoo was the “first zoo (since 1957) in the U.S. to hold a holiday lights event.” Since then, Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo “has become known for its spectacular holiday lights and Christmas displays,” making it a great place for holiday memories. Surely if there has been snow falling during this time, when evening comes and twinkling lights set the stage, it would indeed be magical!

Not to be outdone by its neighboring state: the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Ohio, have been lighting up the holidays for 27 years now, with its PNC Festival of Lights and includes puppets, story-telling and train rides.

You might want to “Jungle All the Way” in Memphis at the zoo, where you will experience singing Christmas trees and get all snuggly with hot chocolate and s’mores’ . . . . . .

Lincoln Park Zoo Lights Festival

Lincoln Park Zoo Lights Festival


Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo is always FREE and its Zoolights during the holidays is extremely popular with the brilliance of thousands of lighted trees and luminous displays for this annual holiday-oriented family-celebration.

Imagine riding a Rhino, at the Denver Zoo where Christmas carolers’ entertain with your favorite Christmas tune and a visit with Santa will delight the little ones. Not into the big city, then Cheyenne Mountain Zoo nestled in the Southern Rockies near Colorado Springs is celebrating 23 years of holiday cheer during the “CMZ Electric Safari” with “over one million glittering lights and 40 animated light sculptures.” There is even a ‘cold-weather’ discount. Brrrr, the snow might be falling, but “warming fires throughout the Zoo offer a reprieve from the chill.”

Check out this site for all the details (and thanks to Linda K for her 2009 Uptake article).
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