I can't believe I've never been to Lincoln Park Zoo's ZooLights before but I saw it advertised on TV so I thought I would beg our family to go. We need more family activities and it was the first time in 6 months that everyone was together.
My daughters are 21 and 18 so I didn't have any illusions that they were going to ooh and ahh over the sights. But I didn't really expect my oldest daughter and my wife to start whining that they wanted to go home after we spent 15 minutes looking for parking (it's a bitch). Fortunately, we found a spot on Clark just moments before the two of them mutinied.
The lights were really nice and they had a few displays synchronized to music. They also had some impressive ice sculptures. But the big surprise of the evening was checking out the ape house. Everyone loves the apes and chimpanzees are always cute - as long as you don't think about the fact that they can rip your face off.
By 8 PM they have the lights turned down to make it look like a moonlit night - certainly to keep the apes' circadian rhythms synched up properly - so the apes go to sleep. Now you wouldn't think it was that fascinating to watch a bunch of apes sleeping but most of us have never seen apes sleeping before and it was kind of funny. They sleep in the weirdest positions - like they had been frozen in the middle of doing something - one leg propped over a knee sticking in the air, an arm clinging to a vine. Apparently, the apes had ordered in pizza earlier in the evening because there were cardboard remnants all over the place. Maybe that's why they looked like they had all passed out.
Unfortunately, quite a few of the idiot humans didn't get the fact that these guys wanted to sleep because they kept startling them while taking flash photos. Imagine if someone took flash photos of you while you were asleep. My advice: let sleeping apes lie.
Incidentally, the lion house was also open but we didn't go in there.
It turned out to be quite a nice evening and I think even my wife and oldest daughter enjoyed it, though they wouldn't admit it when I grilled them afterwards. Of course I did bribe them with frozen yogurt.
ZooLights is free and it's open from 5 - 9 PM through January 1 (except December 24 and 25).