Recently, I admitted that I only pretend to like Holiday Decorations. While this is a true statement, there is an exception: Holiday Lights. When it comes to Holiday Lights, my enthusiasm is genuine. I love Holiday Lights. There is something so magical about the glow against the blackened sky. The soft colors on the snowy landscape make me feel like a kid again. They transform the mundane, ordinary world that we’ve seen a thousand times into a magical place where anything is possible: Reindeer can fly; dreams can come true, and jolly ol’ St. Nick knows your name and how you’ve been all year.
On Friday, December 4th, my family and I were able to attend a sneak peek of Winter WonderLights at The Wildlife Experience. (I was given free admission for the three of us to this event in exchange for an honest review, and some images in this post were provided by The Wildlife Experience.) We knew it would be a cool experience…and with the weather front that had settled in the area, a cold experience…so we bundled up and then threw on some extra layers just to be safe.
My daughter hates wearing a hat and a coat, let alone more than one layer of anything, so the preparation for our adventure was less than desirable. It only took a reminder that we were going go see Santa to get her to comply. In fact, she got so excited that she forgot all about the layers.
I’m glad we dressed warmly, because it was cold. If you go when the temps have dipped below the freezing point (like we did), it is cold; there’s no way around it. Had we not dressed appropriately, we would have not been able to linger outside as long as we did. For me, the light sculptures were worth it. They were beautiful. Driving by lights at night is a great experience, but walking under them, standing next to then, and getting close enough to touch them, is magnificent.
Claire had a blast. To be honest, layers or not, my daughter handles the cold really well. She would have trudged three miles across a windswept frozen tundra with the promise to see Santa at the end of the trek. She met him briefly for the first time last year at the mall, but she doesn’t remember much of that exchange. This year, she just turned 4-years old, and the magic of Santa is very real to her.
After we saw all the lights outside, the path led us into the building where we had a chance to write a letter to Santa, warm up with some hot cocoa, and then walk through Globeology. Because we’d been there before, our little tour guide tugged us through that section at top speed. We also had the option to see “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in the movie theater, but the thought of waiting one more minute to see Santa pulled us in the opposite direction. “Santa’s waiting for us, Momma! Santa’s waiting! Come on, Daddy!”
We ended up back outside in Santa’s Village. Unlike a typical mall visit, Santa and Mrs. Claus were in their own private little house. It was warm, and the atmosphere was intimate and calm, a contrast to all the holiday bustle outside. Santa remembered Claire, even though she’s grown so much since last year. She told him what she wanted for Christmas, and he had some good advice for her to follow to achieve those goals. They gave each other a big hug, posed for some photos that we were allowed to take ourselves, and we made our way back out into the cold.
But, Claire didn’t feel the cold. Such an awesome visit with the big man himself had her oblivious to the dropping temperature. Seeing real reindeer in Santa’s Village just fueled the fire. I think she floated to the car, through the crisp night air, and I’m not sure that her feet have touched the ground since.
Check out Winter WonderLights at The Wildlife Experience for yourself!
WHEN: Open nightly December 11 – 24
5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (last ticket sold at 8p.m.)
WHERE: The Wildlife Experience
10035 South Peoria (one mile east of 1-25 at the intersection of
Lincoln Ave. and S. Peoria) Parker, CO 80134
COST: Adults (13-64) $9, Seniors (65+) $8, Children (3-12) $6 Children 2
and under are free. Members of The Wildlife Experience receive $2 off
Winter WonderLights admission.