Winter WonderLights = Winter WonderNights
posted by: gretchen
I held back. Their antlers were slightly intimidating, the language barrier was daunting, and it must be hard to write with hooves. Our family had to settle for the thrill of being within feet of the shaggy and endearing Dasher and Dancer—Santa’s leading reindeer pair.
It was a perfect farewell to a brisk evening spent under late-fall stars, surrounded by thousands of brightly beautiful lights at the Wildlife Experience’s new holiday exhibit, Winter WonderLights.
The night began with a walk on a light-lined and stroller accessible nature trail which snaked around the main building. Our tightly-bundled bunch marveled over illuminated polar bears, candies, trees, snowflakes, and other festive displays. Along the trail, several warming stations stocked with kettle corn, cocoa, and bathrooms kept us moving along through the night. Every few steps I’d catch my kids’ little faces illuminated by lights, revealing a rosy, happy glow and shivering chins. Nobody complained, though.
The fun continued inside with an area for kids to make crafts and create avalanches and rockslides. It also gave the kids an opportunity to shed coats, hats, mittens, gloves, and scarves. It gave me a chance to practice my organization and matching skills and briefly envy the entire southern hemisphere’s summer Christmas. The kids scampered from one fun indoor activity to the next, glad for a chance to warm up a bit and prepare for their encounter with the big man in the red suit.
Santa’s pull was powerful enough to draw us back into the chilly night. A charming Christmas village comprised of little houses known as Winter WonderVille beckoned us to fall into line. A toy soldier entertained the crowd with juggling and jokes as we waited for our personal encounter. Soon it was our turn, and the kids took their places on Santa’s knee. What a saint! His wife, Mrs. Claus, was lovely too.
Lists thoroughly disclosed, we had the chance to peek in the windows of Winter WonderVille. Normally, we don’t peek in the windows of any Ville, but we couldn’t help it. Santa’s elves were busy doing elvish things like learning the lyrics to Jingle Bells at the school. Each little house was charming in detail and whimsy.
Dasher and Dancer were stationed on the outskirts of the village, which makes sense. Celebrities or not, they are animals.
Winter WonderLights is Denver’s newest holiday must-see experience. The variety of activities, both indoors and out, make it especially welcoming for families with young children and others who may not want to spend hours outside looking at light displays. For example, the Extreme Screen Theater shows the holiday classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas every 45 minutes. There is something for everyone to enjoy at Winter WonderLights—even on nights the weather isn’t welcoming, you can feel confident you’ll have a great time celebrating this special season.
Winter WonderLights runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through December 28th. Visit The Wildlife Experience’s website for more information.