Guest blog: Leslie Brooks, Calgary lifestyle blogger at Ruff Ruminations.com.
Wonder fills my seven year old’s eyes as we see the first lights entering the zoo on a warm winter night, well warm for Calgary but I suppose that term is relative. You know it’s warm out because the zoo is packed even though ZOOLIGHTS has only just started. It’s 6 p.m. and the families are streaming in non-stop. I think the whole city has the same general rule, if you’ve got a free night and the temperature is above -5 degrees you better take your opportunity to enjoy the warm winter weather and go to ZOOLIGHTS!
My son, Grady, and I are avid ZOOLIGHTS and Calgary Zoo attendees. We have the highest level membership, Inspire, so that we can take full advantage of all this beloved attraction has to offer. This includes unlimited ZOOLIGHTS admission, which is a good thing because Grady spent the whole three hour trip planning what he was going to do when he came back.
I enjoy the walk and seeing what is different year to year. It is amazing how the zoo can keep things fresh without having to add a lot of lights each year, this year I am sure they have added a tonne but it could just be the thoughtful way they are all placed. This year’s highlights for me were the animals on the bridge and the splitting up of areas into zones, this made it easier to encourage Grady to move on when I got chilly watching him cover himself in straw for too long. Grady’s favorite things were Santa (of course), the igloos, and the new lights like the giant T-Rex.
We had a chance to check out the singing tree, one of the most popular spots, and Grady wants to go back to use the microphone. He also felt he didn’t get enough time in the straw mountain and now that he is a good reader knows that on Thursdays you can learn to ice carve, so I am sure every Thursday night will be a request to go back.
I know I have an older kid but we attended with a friend who brought her two young kids and they had just as much fun as Grady. But remember that it is darker and although most areas are well lit little ones can get curious quickly, so it’s important to keep an eye on the kiddos in the crowds!
ZOOLIGHTS really is a must do winter activities for families and even a date night. Grady’s tip is “you may know this but be sure to look for what’s in the trees in the observatory” and by observatory he means ENMAX Conservatory. If you can brave the crowds go on a warm night but if you want to have a true northern experience bundle up and go when the temperature drops! Things that are on our list for the next visit; skating, ice carving demonstration and the maple sugar shack.
Leslie Brooks is a Calgary lifestyle blogger at Ruff Ruminations.com and the master mind at Hippo Hug, a line of beautiful and innovative weighted blankets that she hand makes. She writes about the typical and not so typical adventures she gets up to with her young son, husband and two dogs with frequent outings to local family fun spots. She will give you her no nonsense opinion on the experience. When she isn’t wrangling her budding parkour master into a trip to run errands she can be found behind a sewing machine, a book or laptop; reading creating and learning.