Biggest Ball of String

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe – so far)

Calgary ZooLights

on December 2, 2012

DSC00032a

“They say  the neon lights are bright on Broadway”, but LED lighting is pretty bright, too, when there’s more than 1.5 million lights.

Of course, it’s not Broadway, but the ZooLights display at the Calgary Zoo.

I’m interrupting our jaunt across 1/2 of the United States with something current- because we just went to ZooLights Calgary, and it’s my first time! Yes, I’ve lived in Calgary for years and have never gone.  To be fair, I don’t think they’ve been around that long – from what I can find, maybe only since 2005? so, I’m only 7 years behind…
Out of AfricaDancing Light

Actually, that’s one of the benefits that I’ve found to writing a Sightseeing-themed blog. At first, I was just going to talk about places I was going already, but it’s really encouraging me to do things I haven’t done before, and in some cases, wouldn’t have considered doing before.. (In fact, it’s also making me SEE things that I “see” every day. Like the statue of King Kong climbing a building, right in Calgary. I’ve driven passed it so many times and never really “saw” it! Now, I’m making a special trip! Eventually.)

The ZooLights start in the end November and end the beginning of January, open every day from 6pm to 9pm (closed only on Christmas Day.) On New Years Eve, it’s also technically closed, because they have a “Zoo Years Eve” party.  Tickets are only $10 for anyone 16 years old and up, and for children 3-15, only $7. (Everything says that the price of your ticket includes parking…but parking was free anyway…maybe it’s because we didn’t arrive until 7:30ish?) (Speaking of parking – you can only get in from the North Gate, so make sure you park on that side – north side of Memorial Drive.Candy Land Entrance
Dinosaurs at the gateInch Worm

We had 9 adults and 4 children in our group, and I expected an hour and a half to be more than enough time, but we actually had to rush through the last section. (I think it could go either way – depending on how the children handle it.)

Everyone was really cold (the temperature was -13 degrees Celsius/8.6 degrees Fahrenheit), until we discovered that the atrium was open, so we went in there for a few minutes.  (In actual fact, I wasn’t cold at all…I wondered why, until Peter pointed out that I was wearing: a regular pair of socks and a pair of thermal wool socks, thermal pants and also snow pants, a thermal shirt under a wool sweater, a wool hat and a knit headband, thermal gloves under down mittens, Sorel boots good for -40 (Celsius & Fahrenheit), and a down coat over the top of it all.  (Also, I may have had a little something yummy in my hot chocolate…)
Lovers LaneLovers Lane

The staff was great – super friendly and had a lot of information. (In particular, we learned that the camels were outside (apparently, these particular camels are Bactrian camels, and thrive in the winter), and also, apparently, the snow leopard cubs (kittens?) were also outside still (hadn’t gone inside for the night, yet), although I didn’t get to see those.

The kids loved the games – building igloos, hoola hooping, something with hay bales, an icy slide through lights.  Kids are so funny, though – we were there for an hour and a half, and saw over 1.5 million lights, and they were mostly just really excited to takes chunks of ice and snow and shatter them on the ground.Kid's Slide

 Ogo Pogo

Here’s some general facts that I found interesting (in addition to the fact that there’s moElephant Familyre than 1.5 million lights):

  • It takes “4.5 people” 3 months to set up, and other 3 months to take down.
  • Since switching to LED lighting and other energy-saving lights, there’s an 80% reduction in power
  • Technically, there are 6 fire pits throughout – while we were there, there were 4 working, but they were strategically placed and not only enjoyable, but kind of a relief to those who were cold
  • ZooLights are strung across approximately 90 acres
  • Hot chocolate is available (there are booths scattered – if the one you go to is crowded, walk on – there’s others that are less crowded)

I definitely will go again (not sure if it’ll be this year or next year).  Next time, I’ll speed through the first section and go right to Candy Land.Candy LandCandy Land

Back on track (I think) on Wednesday,
with more on Nebraska
and Chimney Rock
(as previously discussed –
– November 27th).

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2 responses to “Calgary ZooLights

  1. Shannan says:

    Well this looks like a good time. Makes me want to search local for a fun evening.

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