There are few holiday traditions that can compete with strolling through the Wildlights display at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on a chilly December evening.
The smell of fresh kettle corn in the air, my cup of hot coco to keep me warm and the sounds of holiday music and excited children provide a festive backdrop.
This is a winter wonderland of three million colorful, twinkling lights that whisks me away to that magical place where Christmas comes to life.
I set out to North America to look for Santa’s reindeer and stop along the way to marvel at how fascinating is to see the zoo in such a different light- literally. Zoos throughout Ohio are giving visitors lots of reasons to bundle-up and head out in this winter.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
The holidays come alive from one end of the zoo to the other during Wildlights which run through January 4, 2015 (closed 12/24 and 12/15, 2014). As you enjoy many of the animals at night, kids will love the seasonal displays, train rides, scuba Santa in the manatee building and decorating cookies with Mrs. Claus at Santa’s house. You will find global celebrations in Asia Quest, a choreographed light display on the lake to the music of the Trans Siberian Orchestra and lots of activities in the holiday village.
The Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo is packed full of activities including appearances by Santa, S’mores-n-more on the grounds, puppet shows, North Polar Express train ride, strolling entertainment and a holiday post office. New this year is a re-choreographed Wild Lights show on Swan Lake. The zoo is even segmented into fun-themed areas so the look and experience is different in every section of the zoo.
The holiday season is energized at the Toledo Zoo at the Lights Before Christmas display. In addition to brilliant lights throughout the zoo, your family can enjoy events and activities that change daily. Be sure to visit the Winter Village that features live reindeer and an opportunity to race down an ice slide. Get your photo with Santa at the museum or mingle with Mrs. Claus and Ellie the Elf for an evening at a Festive Feast. In addition to holiday events, the zoo is offering Winter Camps for kids that range from being a junior zookeeper to participating in winter zoo adventures. Registration is required.
The Akron Zoo is holding winter hours (11am-4pm) with seasonal events for the family. In fact, you can “pick” your admission price by selecting a snowflake from Santa hat which offers discounted admission through December 31, 2014. The popular Breakfast with Santa events are sold out, but the zoo has other activities throughout the winter and most of the animals are on display.
Check online before you go to an Ohio zoo as hours and activities vary during the winter. Start a winter tradition with your family at one of Ohio’s zoos and discover a new way to enjoy the season.