I love the Columbus Zoo.

Last Christmas, my dear Grandmother gave the family an annual membership. A very practical gift, since a day’s admission for a family this size costs more than a yearly membership.

Last year, we were delighted to discover that the zoo is open after hours throughout the holiday season. Wild Lights at the Columbus Zoo offers visitors the opportunity to stroll through the park (which is beautifully lit by more than three million lights) and observe the nocturnal activities of the many animals. Vendors selling Bavarian roasted pecans and almonds, hot wassail and cocoa, ice skating and a visit with St. Nick enhance the festive spirit. We attended Wild Lights last year, and the children have been clamoring to go ever since.

So we took them on Saturday night. We invited our dear friend, Tom, to join us. True, the sky was a bit misty and it was very dark and very cold, but hey–that’s part of the fun!

As we approached the park, the traffic was insane! Apparently, our good idea appealed to most of Columbus as well. Parking the car, it was apparent that it was no longer just cold, it was freezing. And it was not just a bit misty, it was raining.

We stood in line. For a very long time. Getting wetter and wetter.

Mr. Tom, with his wry sense of humor says “Oh…I see. This is how you punish the children when they misbehave. You take them to the zoo in the dark and get them very wet and very cold.”

Ha ha.

Once inside the park, things improved. The children were enchanted by the lights, though the crowds were significantly larger than last year.

The good: the beautiful lights, the petting barn, the model trains.

The bad: too much traffic, a large group of obnoxious teenagers, and four little boys who simply couldn’t stop making snowballs and pelting each other.

Oh yeah…we lost Maximilian. My sweet boy is a non-stop “lagger”. He simply will not stay with the group. This is not the first time Max has been “left behind.” He was quickly found by his dad (at the model train station), but not before his panicky mom had alerted park security.

It is a testimony to the hardiness of the children that they do, indeed, call this fun!