We live a short drive away from our local zoo. I bring the boys often and we marvel at the marvelous animals that live there. The thing I love about our zoo is that it is spacious with plenty of room for the animals to roam. My heart pours out to the poor animals that live in cramped spaces, but the wondrous creatures that live at the Point Defiance Zoo seem happy to roam their area.
Every December, the zoo opens up at night for their annual Zoolights. The animals are put to bed and the zoo comes to life like a Christmas tree in motion. This was my first year going and it was a sight to behold.
The zoo doesn't seem very special from the outside. There is a lit up sign stating that the Zoolights are in effect. It's not until you walk through the gates and look out over the hill that you realize the enormity of this "attraction".
I wrangled my little guys hand so I wouldn't lose him and then looked up. I felt myself gasp at the sight before my eyes. The normal green hill was covered in a rainbow of lights. All the trees were lit up and displays flecked the grassy plain.
The area where I've taken my students to eat their lunch was now a winter wonderland.
I watched as one color changed to the next. I began to think of The Wizard of Oz and the horse of a different color. The raven night was lit up for all to see. There was a lit pathway that walked you through the light displays. The pathway was easy to follow, with no room to stray.
Some lights were just displays, tucked into corners and out in the open. My boys went on treasure hunts to see what lit up animals they could find. The lights matched the animals habitats which made it easy for me to guess what would be next. Sounds of "Elephant", "Fox", and "Owl" could be heard screaming from small lips around the park.
Other light displays moved. The anteater above moved from one corner of the field to this light stump. The red speckled ants moved up as the anteater approached. There were displays of fish jumping, eagles swooping in to grab their pray, a cat scurrying up a pole to a bird that flew away, and penguins sliding on the ice.
Statues that permanently reside in the park were highlighted as well. This particular statue has always been one of my favorites and the lights brought more of a meaning to it. A family, gathered together, hands grasped in solidarity....this time, surrounding a fire.
And of course, what display would be complete without a touch of it's home town? The zoo put special touches of home in its display....The Tacoma Narrows Bridge and Mt. Rainer. Both were put in plain sight for all to see.
Zoolights was a memorable night and the start of a very busy weekend. I think that this may need to be a new tradition....at least while we live close to an amazing zoo like this.