Calgary’s holiday tradition Zoolights kicks off after June flood
The Calgary Zoo’s annual Zoolights display became a milestone for the once beleaguered attraction as the full park opened for the first time since the devastating June flood of 2013.
Trish Exton-Parder of the Calgary Zoo and staff said they are excited to reach their goal of opening in time for the annual holiday lights event.
“It’s a lot of relief and a lot of joy,” says Exton-Parder about finally reaching this point in the zoo’s recovery —a lot of sweat and tears were put into this.When you saw the way we were at the end of June, it was pretty devastating. We knew what was ahead of us and what we had to do. Now it’s happened and it’s due to some pretty heroic and committed people. I think it’s going to be better than ever.”
Despite Calgary’s recent frigid temperatures, visitors still came out to take in what has become a favourite holiday kickoff tradition, supporting the zoo in its comeback.
“(Tonight) was our last night to do it because I start finals,” says Laura Fandry, a University of Calgary student who came out with her boyfriend in minus 35 degrees Celcius weather.
“We didn’t get to take our time because it was so cold, but it was still really nice; so unique.”
The Zoolights will run nightly from Nov. 29 to Jan. 4, 2014. Gates open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Photographed by Geoff Crane
Published on Dec. 9
A bridge that was witness to this summer’s devastating flood disaster now welcomes visitors back to the Calgary Zoo for its annual holiday kickoff event.
Visitors are treated to a display of 1.5 million lights — Western Canada’s largest seasonal light display.
“I found it very neat this year,” says Dan Gibb, who attended the lights with Laura Fandry on Calgary’s coldest night to date. “Talking to Santa was really interesting,” Gibb says.
Along with trees wrapped in LED’s, numerous displays in the shapes of animals can be found along various walkways through the zoo.
The display features many themes such as “Lover’s Lane.”
Even the zoo’s latest addition, the penguins, got in on the act.
In its 16th year, this edition of the Zoolights represents a milestone for the park that is recovering from the devastating June floods that hit Calgary.
One themed display is an ocean scene. It takes on a new meaning as the zoo recovers from the June flood that closed a majority of the park up until November 28 when the full park opened for the first time since the disaster.