A yearly tradition for many Calgary-Area families is ZooLights at the Calgary Zoo. Though this is our third Christmas in Calgary, we had yet to venture out and celebrate the holidays with our favourite animal friends. Wow, we were missing out!!
From the moment you walk in, you are greeted with light displays, a warm fire, and music. Once you head over the bridge into the south-side of the Zoo, you truly feel like you are walking into a Winter Wonderland. Our first stop was SantaVision, where we got to chat with Santa at the North Pole. My three year old was quite blown away that Santa knew her name and that he took time out of his busy schedule to chat with her. You can even go online and view a video of your chat and share it with your family and friends. From there, we checked out the many displays and took a turn Snow Bowling in the Reindeer Games area. A ride on the carousel was a must for warming up, and we also stopped into the ENMAX Conservatory for a few minutes and a quick family photo in front of one of the beautiful flower displays. (I will warn you that because of the drastic temperature change between outside and the conservatory, be prepared for your camera to fog up. It took us a good 10 minutes to get mine to the point of being able to take a clear photo.)
All in all, this is a great event that is now on our “Must Do” List for each holiday season. The cost is $10 per adult and $6 per child. The 1.5 million lights go live at 6:00 PM each night and end at 9:00 PM, with gates closing at 8:30 PM. If you haven’t been yet, it isn’t too late, the display continues until January 2. When you go, be sure to bring some non-perishable food items and you will receive a coupon for 2 for 1 admission in the spring.
One more event that we recently attended that should be a must on everyone’s holiday list is the Santa Claus Parade of Lights in Banff. This is the finale of the Christmas in the Rockies Festival and is well worth the drive to see. The parade is the perfect length for young children, and its 5:30 PM start time means that you can have a great day in the mountains, and still be back before bedtime. Be sure to bundle up, grab a warm beverage and claim your spot early…the parade route down Banff Avenue fills up quickly. One tip I learned this year is to grab a spot close to the beginning of the parade route. After we saw the end of the parade, we were able to do a bit of shopping in nearly empty shops while everyone was still watching the floats go by further down the street.
Enjoy the holiday festivities and please feel free to comment with some of your favourites!
Sharon is a New England girl who never imagined that she’d find herself living in Canada. She has a wonderful husband and together they created a Diva Monster. Follow her on her crazy journeys at Nanas Button Jar!!