Columbus Zoo and Aquairum Wildlights is open for the holiday season
On Friday, November 17th, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium opened its doors for the annual Wildlights powered by AEP Ohio. Wildlights is an excuse for you, your friends, and family to go to the zoo during the winter, even though it may be cold. However, it is worth it with the zoo decked out in different holiday lights, a light show set to music in and around the pond alternating every 15 minutes, and do not forget Santa.
You can find Santa’s Village in a different spot this year, Santa and his elves can be found in the most logical spot, the Polar Frontier by the polar bears. Close by are his trustee helpers, the reindeer, which are in the North America before you enter the Polar Frontier, and if you stop by at the right time, sometimes even Rudolph will make an appearance.
As it is cold, some animals cannot be outside during our frigid winters, and the zoo, unfortunately, has to close some exhibits, even whole continent attractions, like Africa and the Congo. If you want to see the gorillas, bonobos or the polar bears you will have to go before 4 pm to see them go to bed for the night because they do settle in a little earlier than most animals.
But do not worry: there are plenty of other animals to see if you can. They move the elephants and rhinos indoors in the Magnificent Giants building in Asia Quest. You can, of course, see the aquarium and the Manatees which are next to each other in the Discovery Reef and Manatee Coast buildings in the Shores Region.
Another indoor exhibit in the Shores Region are the reptiles in the Reptile Building. Lastly, you can go to Bob and Evelyn’s Roadhouse Nocturnal Building in Australia and the Islands to see the rare sight of the normally sleeping animals up and about. All indoor buildings are heated.
Abbey Zetzer, 16, a visitor at the zoo, was there with a friend for the first time since she was in sixth grade.
“I actually have not been to wildlights since sixth grade and it’s so much more brighter and more extravagant than I remember. My favorite part is when you’re walking through North America and the white icicle lights are above your head and the blue lights are just surrounding you everywhere. It really makes you feel like it’s actually snowy out,” Zetzer, now a sophomore, said.
Some other attractions that you can find at the Zoo other than lights are Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen. You do not want to miss a visit with Mrs. Claus and taste some holiday treats. Holiday Star Light Star Bright Seek-N-Find presented by Disney on Ice offers a stroll through the Zoo’s winter wonderland and if you complete the seek-n-find task you can be entered to win a prize. For an extra $2 per person, you can catch a ride on the Polar Bear Express. For $7 you can get the bumpiest ride ever on a camel, and even though Africa is closed, they are located in North America. You can also catch the classic animated short, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, in 4-D for an additional fee. And of course, there’s the beautiful 1914 Carousel near the Shores Park that you can ride for $2. And do not forget to get some hot chocolate to warm you up and ask for whip cream to top it off. Head out to the zoo this holiday season for some family fun in a winter wonderland.