Got a bowl to roast with nowhere to go? Sounds pretty good, right? As someone who really enjoys both smoking a bowl and being home, I fully understand the appeal of weed + home = great night. However, if you are feeling adventurous on a brisk December night, how about weed + ZooLights = amazing.
For those unfamiliar with ZooLights, it is an annual event put on at zoos around the country. It takes place after regular zoo hours. Up here in Seattle at the Woodland Park Zoo, they call it WildLights. They put up just tons and tons of lights all around the zoo and serve cider and hot chocolate. In years past, it has been just a few strings of icicle lights and some colored net-lighting strewn across the hedges. This year, however, they really outdid themselves.
There were whole scenes out of the animal kingdom depicted in flip-book style lighting progressions. In one place, you can watch an electric monkey scamper up a tree and swing through the canopy; in another, digital lions and elephants vie for supremacy at the water hole; and yet another had a family of gorillas roaming through a wooded glen. My favorite? A pair of Tesla tigers lying in wait atop the main entrance to the jungle exhibit.
This is a great event to take the kids to, as they just love the lights and hot cocoa. This year, they even converted their kids play area into an indoor snowfield, with snow generators pumping enough fresh snow out for an impromptu snowball fight.
I had a couple of long pulls from a bong before we left and a handful of pot gummies in my pocket, from which I was steadily drawing throughout the night. We are likely all familiar with how much more exciting lights and sights can be with a little weed in your blood. This year’s WildLights felt like being transported to a fantastic enchanted forest.
The only thing that bummed me out was that most of the live animal exhibits were closed. I understand. As a huge animal lover with a strong passion for honoring the natural world, I logically appreciated the fact that the zoo staff is taking proper care of their animalian friends. Most of the animals are sleeping at night and/or would not handle the stress of all the lights and commotion very well. I would honestly have been upset had they forced the real tigers and elephants (and the rest) to “perform” for the nighttime visitors. Still though, I always relish the chance to spend a little time with other creatures. (Big cats are my favorite!)
It wasn’t a total loss on the wildlife viewing front. The nocturnal animal house and the reptile house were still open. It was really cool to see some of the nocturnal creatures active and moving about. The meerkats and tree kangaroo were particularly exciting (meerkats act like house cats) and the reptiles were way more active at night. I mean, they are still snakes and frogs and lizards, so they aren’t swinging from the branches or dealing a game of 5-card stud or anything, but they are more active than I have seen them during the day.
All in all, it was an event well worth the modest admission fee and the price of a few ciders/cocoas. If you are in Seattle, the Woodland Park’s WildLights runs until January 4th. I know that zoos in Oregon, Illinois, and California (likely other zoos as well) do something similar. I recommend getting nice and stoned and going out on a little electric safari.