I was very excited to find out the Valley Zoo in Edmonton was introducing a Festival of Light this Christmas season. We had gone to Zoolights at the Calgary Zoo while I was still pregnant with my son and it was a fun experience to see the zoo all lit up at night.
My original plan was to go this past weekend so I was a little bummed when we were hit with extremely cold temperatures that made it impossible to go with two young kids. After looking at the weekly forecast, we determined that Monday night looked the warmest (-6) and took it as our opportunity to check the festival out.
They are currently working on renovating the zoo and I was excited to see the newly built front entrance finally open. Our zoo is still fairly small in comparison to a lot of other zoo’s, but they are working hard to improve it and I think they have done a great job making it a worthwhile attraction to visit throughout the year.
Keira started in the stroller but didn’t last long in the stroller before she was itching to get out and walk. She raced between exhibits, shouting an excited “dog, dog, dog!” every time she spotted a new animal. Luckily she was still strapped in the stroller when we came across the zookeepers out walking the Arctic wolf otherwise she would have been racing to pet it.
I loved watching as Keira spotted the animals and started jumping and screaming in excitement. We were able to get pretty close up to a lot of the animals, but that still wasn’t good enough with my little girl who had a few mini meltdowns trying to clamour her way into the enclosures.
We have only ever been to the zoo on hot summer days so it was neat being at the zoo at night and in the cold. Some of the animals that would typically be hidden out of the hot sun were out and very easy to spot. The Siberian tigers, fox, otters and other Arctic wolf were all out wandering around their enclosures and we were able to get a good look.
No trip to the Valley Zoo is ever complete without checking in on Lucy the elephant. We found her inside out of the cold, which gave us a chance to warm up a bit too. It was a pretty warm night but it was still nice to be able to alternate between viewing the lights and animals outside and seeing the inside exhibits.
As we were leaving, the reindeer were out for a walk which gave us a good view of them. These were just 3 of the 7 reindeer they have at the zoo – not quite a full team to pull Santa’s sleigh!
The snow was just starting to fall and the wind was picking up as we were loading into the car. We weren’t that chilled, but we still decided to cap the night off with hot chocolate and donuts at Tim Horton’s! It was well past bedtime and Keira was tired from walking most of the zoo on her own, but she managed to stay awake and happy.
Overall it turned out to be an awesome night to go. Due to the dark and the kids excitement I wasn’t able to get many non-blurry pictures, but I know they had smiles plastered to their faces for most of the night and their joy made it totally worth it. If the temperatures cooperate I am pretty sure it will be something we will attempt again next year.