A holiday tradition taken to the nth degree is my idea of fun, and the WildLights Holiday Festival at The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens never fails to deliver.  Although this world-class collection of desert plantings and animals is a delight during the day, the evenings come alive during December with this annual event.

Best friend Freddie often comes out from Los Angeles for the occasion, and this year was no exception.  Reluctantly leaving Phalin at home (“I’m 15—and too old for that!”), she brought Farnsworth and Fronkie, who are always game for a fun and interesting outing, especially in the dark.  The event kicks off Thanksgiving weekend and runs most evenings from 6:00-9:00 through New Year’s Eve.

Thousands of miniature lights decorate the grounds in dozens of displays that include geometrics, fantasy, flowers, and every conceivable animal under the sun.  But it goes way beyond luscious lights.  This is the Living Desert, after all, and they know what they’re doing when it comes to entertaining guests of all ages.  Farnie and Fronk were fabulously fascinated by the carousel and camel rides.  Freddie and I were endlessly entertained by the live music, and we all had a ball on the new Holiday Express train ride (no additional charge, which is appreciated by all!).

Santa’s Playland, Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen, Prancer’s Playland, and the Wildlife Wonder Shows all kept everyone dazzled and delighted.  Taking a break with heated cider and s’mores around an open fire warmed us on this particularly nippy night, reminding us why we come back year after year.

Day or evening, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is my kind of place.   www.LivingDesert.org

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