With its balmy 65º breezes and toasty rays of sunshine, January 2nd demanded activities be done out of doors.  A day such as this was such respite from the snowy, cold weather of weeks passed. Not being the type that would look a gift horse in the mouth, Dus and I decided to take Drake to Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo to capitalize on the beautiful weather.  Turns out the rest of the parents in Denver were eager to enjoy this January gift as well; the zoo was packed.


Despite the crowd, lights greeted us right away.  As we worked our way through the zoo, the crowd dissipated.  Luckily for us, most of the crowd was concentrated around the main entrance and ticket window.  In a moment of organized thinking, a rarity for us, we purchased tickets ahead of time.  No waiting for us! 


One would think there wouldn’t be much animal viewing during the night at a zoo, but we were pleasantly surprised by how many we did see.  Last trip to the zoo, Drake didn’t get to see the elephants, but we made up for it this time with a bird’s eye view from Dustin’s shoulders.  Giraffes got up close and personal while getting a snack from one of the zoo staff members.  The hippos chose to stay a bit hidden under the water, but the rhinos were on fully display in their indoor enclosure.  Pretty much every indoor exhibit was open and contained animals to view.  Again, I say, we were pleased with how many exhibits were made available during the light event. 


Drake was able to touch a snake, a turtle and hippo hide.  I can’t comment on how he did with the snake; snakes will forever be a daddy only thing.  I do know he liked seeing the snakes in the rainforest exhibit, however.  I repeatedly heard him say “BIG snake”.  As an added bonus, a male Dall Sheep came out and did some rock hopping.  The lights in the area made it easy for us to see him.  He definitely was an unexpected surprise.  There were also educational presentations and an ice carver.  We wanted to see the penguin talk, but went to the wrong penguin display; Drake loves penguins.  Maybe next time…


Zoo Lights was definitely the highlight of our evening out, but we also discovered a gem.  After having dinner at Chipotle (about the only place that doesn’t make Drake sick), we wondered over to the bookstore.  I’m sure Denverites are familiar with Tattered Cover, but this was our first experience.  I could have spent days in this store.  Heck, Dustin even was intrigued by some of the obscure titles on display.  As usual, Drake was captivated by all the books.  He truly loves books.  The next time Drake has an eye appointment we might have to venture a bit out of our way to include a trip to the Tattered Cover.    


Tadpole Takeaways: Parking at the zoo is really limited.  Get there early, or park at City Park, which isn’t a bad walk.  Admission is 12 bucks for each adult and children under 2 are free.  Zoo Lights admission is a separate fee from zoo admission.  Note: Admission to the zoo does not gain access to Zoo Lights.  Restrooms seemed to be in a concentrated area, plan accordingly.  The Zoo allows drinks and snacks to be brought inside. This is a huge bonus since Drake nor I can eat at the concession stands.  Watch for deals early in the holiday season for discounted Zoo Lights admission.  For $6 a piece, it’s a cheap night of entertainment.  This might have to be an annual tradition for this family.   


Until next time,


Written by Stephanie Mullins

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