A few years ago when my sister suggested that we bundle up the kids and take them to see Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo, I was skeptical. Why would we bring a bunch of small children to the zoo in the dead of winter just to look at some holiday lights? I got cold just thinking about such an excursion.
But we went anyway -- and I was quickly converted. Turns out, it is worth it to freeze your bum off at the zoo in the middle of winter. Here's why.
You get to see the animals in a different light. It's pretty cool to be at the zoo at night. For example, apparently apes go to bed around 5:00 pm. Plus, they co-sleep. During the extended hours for Zoo Lights, be sure to take a spin through the Regenstein Center for African Apes to see the cutest ape families all snuggled up together. The whole scene is adorable. It will make you want to let your three year-old in your bed when he comes in to your room in the middle of the night.
Ice sculpting. I had no idea that a block of ice and a chain saw could be so fascinating. You will be amazed at the spectacular ice scuptures created right before your eyes.
Santa, hot chocolate and holiday cheer. Santa is available to listen to your wish list and take a photo in the Kovler Lion House. Adults can sip spiced wine while the kiddos enjoy a hot chocolate. This event really is all about holiday family fun. I dare you to come to Zoo Lights and not get into the holiday spirit.
Don't forget about the rides (because your kids haven't). It has probably been months since your kids have taken a spin on the Endangered Species Carousel or the kiddie train.
Special new events this year. If the caroling, lights, snacks, and crafts aren't enough for you, the Lincoln Park Zoo is hosting two special educational events during Zoo Lights: the Polar Bear Party on December 4th and the Penguin Polar Event on December 11th. Kids will have an opportunity to learn about how these animals live in the wild.
Lights is open from 5:00 pm until 9:00 p.m. on the following weekends:
November 27-29, December 3-5 and December 11-13. Starting December
18th, Zoo Lights is open every day (except for December 24th and 25th)
through January 3rd. As always, admission to the Lincoln Park Zoo is
One last word of advice: Don't forget to really bundle everyone up (I would break out the snowsuits for this outing). Nothing can kill the holiday spirit faster than children whining about cold hands and noses.