You are a Clevelander pondering a family-fun holiday excursion. But where to go that combines activities for animal lovers and Christmas lights enthusiasts? Why, the Columbus Zoo and Aquariums's 25th annual Wildlights event, of course, being offered now through January 5, 2014. It is approximately a 2 hour drive from Cleveland.
Wildlights Named one of the Top Ten Events in North America, Wildlights has the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium ablaze with thousands and thousands of colorful, eco-friendly and bright LED lights.
Sights that greet you upon your arrival at the Entry Village include a 28 foot tall Holiday Tree, a giant strand of lights and a colossal Santa.
There is a multitude of activities at Wildlights to please all ages. Presented every 30 minutes from 5:45 p.m. - closing is an 8 minute holiday music and light show that features new songs, new elements and 25 animated trees.
Visitors will be able to take a ride on the Bob Evans Polar Express Train. Cost is $1 per person. Train rides are subject to weather and mechanical conditions.
Don't forget to make a stop at Santa's Reindeer Corral to say "hello" to all of Santa's special helpers in getting those gifts delivered.
There will be photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus and a chance to make your own cookie with Mrs. Claus in her kitchen. At 6 p.m. every night you can watch Santa SCUBA dive at the Discovery Reef. There will be additional dives at 8 p.m. Thursday - Sunday.
Again guests can visit the Global Celebration Village which features the 192 flags of all the countries in the United Nations, eight animated international carolers and lots of holiday music to make you merry and bright.
Visitors can also enjoy live entertainment provided by local musical organizations nightly.
Some of the animal attractions open at the event include the Humboldt Penguin Habitat, Manatee Coast, the Reptile Building, Bob & Evelyn's Road House and Nocturnal Building and the Koala Habitat.
Also open at the Wildlights event will be the Zoo's historic 1914 carousel offering rides for $1 a person per ride.
Food can be purchased at the indoor Congo River Market Food Court.While there make sure you stop to hear a performance by the Timbernacle Forest Chorus sponsored by Disney on Ice which features 29 singing animatronic trees.
Hours for Wildlights are 5 p.m.- 9 p.m. Sunday - Thursday and 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The Zoo will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Admission is $14.99 for adults, $10.99 for seniors and $9.99 for children (2-9).
For more information about Wildlights or about the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium call 800-666-5397 or get online at www.columbuszoo.org.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is located at 4850 W. Powell Rd. in the Columbus suburb of Powell. It is approximately a 2 hour drive from Cleveland.