Sunday, November 27, 2016

Wildlights – What A Bright Idea

(Woodland Park Zoo)

It’s that time of the year again when neon monkeys start to frolic around various storefront windows in the Greenwood neighborhood signaling that Wildlights at the Woodland Park Zoo is back in full swing. Don’t know what we’re talking about? Then you’ve never experienced Wildlights. Sure, driving around finding neighborhoods that go all out during Christmas time with huge light displays, but the zoo provides a similar experience times ten and your kids will get some exercise too wearing them out for a peaceful ride back home.

Of course the main reason to visit Wildlights is to see the spectacular light displays featuring more than 600,000 energy-efficient LED lights formed into favorite animal shapes and surroundings (and listening to your wife asking why you can’t do something similar for your home), but there is more to do and see.

If the weather is inclement, be sure to warm up in the “Snowmazium” to experience a huge indoor “snowball” fight where nobody gets hurt nor do their hands get cold. At first the scene may be appear to be “just for the kids” but don’t be fooled. The adults have just as much fun throwing the squishy, fluffy snowballs as much as the younger ones. This is also the place where your kids can hear a snow story or build a snow creature.

The zoo’s carousel looks extra magical during the festivities and makes for a good photo opp. (The carousel rides are not included in the admission price, but tickets are available for $2 each.) Nearby the Carousel, you’ll find two of Santa’s reindeer and over at Santa’s Camp, you can get your picture taken with the jolly old elf every Friday through Sunday prior to Christmas. He’ll also be around the week before Christmas from December 19-23.

In addition to the reindeer, select animal exhibits will be open for nighttime viewing as well including the Day Exhibit and the north portion of the Adaptations Building which is home to meerkats and nocturnal animals.

Food and beverages, including hot chocolate, spiked hot cider and mulled wine (for the adults) will be available as well. The ZooStore is also a great place to warm up and pick up a unique gift that you won’t find anywhere else. Be on the lookout for clearance tags for extra savings.

On December 12, Blitz the Seahawks mascot will be on site for a meet-and-greet and you can go on a Seahawks Scavenger Hunt for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the Seahawks game on December 15.

Wildlights is held every night from 5:30-8:30 p.m. and continues through January 1, 2017. Wildlights is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas. Tickets are $9.95 for adults, $7.95 for children ages 3-12 and free for those age 3 and under. Tickets can be purchased at the gate, but it is recommended that you purchase them online to secure your spot and quicker entry into the park.

The Woodland Park Zoo is located at 5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle 98103. Parking is free on site, but fills up quickly, so come early or take the bus. Limited street parking is available too. For more information call the zoo at (206) 548-2500 or visit their website.

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