I’ve always loved lights at this time of year. When I was a kid, my family always drove around during this time of year and admired other folks holidays lights. (We used to leave little notes of thanks in people’s mailboxes if we really enjoyed their lights.)
For a few years Child and I always visited the Minnesota Zoo in December for their “Bright Lights Winter Nights” festivities. All around the zoo lake and paths close to the zoo buildings, there were lots of lights, mostly in shapes of various zoo animals. Walking around seeing the lights on crisp winter nights was almost magical. Inside there were usually crafts and hot chocolate. You didn’t actually see any real animals, but it was still a great holiday treat. After four years, they quit doing it – when I called the zoo they said that it cost more to put on the show than they brought in. Sigh.
When I got the email in November about a light show at the zoo, I knew not to get my hopes up… there was no way they were going to replicate Bright Lights during pandemic. The light show is called “Nature Illuminated” and is a drive-through event running through mid-January.
YA and I are zoo members, so we were able to sign up for the first week of members-only viewing. There was a per-car charge that I might normally balk at, but since there weren’t any other holidays festivities on the horizon, I coughed it up. We got to the zoo at the appointed time and got our car in line. There was an audio tour available online – luckily I had YA to get that going. The tour took about 25 minutes with lots of over-sized inflatables, fabulously lit up. The audio was pretty good too, although there were a couple of “commercials” that I could have done without – especially since we’re already members. I thought it was interesting that not all the illuminated animals are represented at the Minnesota Zoo – but I’m not complaining about seeing polar bears!
It was nice – not nearly as much fun as I remember the old light show, but without any other concerts, parties or gatherings this 2020 holidays season, it will probably be the most fun activity we do outside the house!!
What have you adapted for the holidays this year?