Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

ZooLights, Part 1

Every Christmas season for the last 22 years, the Phoenix Zoo has decorated its grounds, originally with hundreds of thousands, and now with millions of tiny lights. Attending ZooLights has become a beloved family holiday tradition for most Phoenix families with children (and some without).

I am sure you have all seen trees decorated with miniature lights — but this is the only place I have seen a whole tree enveloped by them. It is awesome.

Some of the trees have clusters of lights hanging from their branches like illuminated fruit. In some cases, lights are strung between trees like a vine — an arboreal highway for its residents.

I really liked this tree because of the crescent moon peeking through the branches.

I began making an annual excursion about five years ago with my little buddy, Johnny. That first year, he couldn't care less about the lights — but the carousel — that was all he was interested in. Year by year he has matured and his taste in ZooLights attractions has as well. He now likes the lights.

Different trees look different because of the type of foliage. These palm trees have lights up the trunk but not into the palm fronds. And there is our crescent moon again.

In the center of the zoo is a large lagoon. Floating in the middle is a huge globe with lights that change in rhythmic patterns. Several times each hour there will be a light show coordinated with music — more on that later.

Since it is a zoo, ZooLights also features strings of lights in the shapes of animals — here penguins.

Next is a new feature reminiscent of the Chuhuly exhibit at the nearby Desert Botanical Garden — glass stalks with white bands continuously climbing from the base to the tip — absolutely mesmerizing.

A reindeer perhaps?

And an alligator.


And a monkey swinging from a vine and climbing a tree.

But I really loved the friendly orangutan peering out from the jungle. So cool!

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com