When do friends in their 60’s turn into kids again? They do when they go to Griffith Park to see the Los Angeles Zoo Lights display. Seven of us old farts met up there after New Years to check it out.
I used to take my kids to the Los Angeles Zoo all the time when they were little and we lived in Hollywood. We were even members for a while. They were always enthralled with the animals and my favorite was always the meerkat. I hadn’t been back in decades even though I always enjoyed it.
I’d never seen the Zoo Lights before but was curious about it when friends posted pictures on Facebook. The lines were swarming at the entrance when we arrived. Thanks to our trusty cell phones we quickly found each other. My friend Mark bought tickets for all of us online timed for 7 pm. While others stood in line to buy tickets, we were ushered right in.
Cheri, a friend I’ve known since high school, had run back to her car to get some cash she’d forgotten so we waited at the entrance until she found us. I think she took a tote while she was in the car. What can I say, she’s a diehard hippie.
The zoo was lit up brilliantly as far as the eye could see. I can’t imagine who hung all the lights amid rhinos and lions and lived to tell about it. It was a bone-chilling evening for Los Angeles and we were all bundled up as if we were going to the North Pole.
Karen was hungry right out of the gate and wanted some food. Everyone else followed except Doug and I because we were anxious to take photos. He eventually walked off in frustration and headed out with his camera to do his own thing. Turns out he was the smart one and got the best shots. (See below)
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I stood there like an idiot for what seemed like a century waiting for my friends to find stir sticks.
Going in a large group (there were seven of us) is challenging enough in the daytime but impossible at night. I wanted to go “rogue” myself and regretted that I didn’t. One blink and you lose each other. It’s much easier meandering on your own.
The lights were gorgeous but it was hard to take pictures of them because they were constantly blinking and changing. Doug was more successful as you can see in the photos below. It always helps to take a cameraman along.
We found a brightly lit carousel and everyone wanted to go for a ride. I stayed on the ground hoping to grab a few shots.
The group decided to go into the snake house because they were cold and it was warm and toasty inside. I wore the same Columbia down jacket I brought to Poland and Eastern Europe 2 years before and it kept me warm and cozy. Who knew it would get down to 32 degrees in LA?
Karen and I escaped the snake pit because I was getting sweaty. As we exited we saw a marvelous water and light show. The rest of our friends finally caught up and we continued to walk through the splendid displays.
After a while, I ditched the group to find Doug before my phone died. We ended up sitting at a cider and beer bar sponsored by Stella Artois. Heck, they were giving away free booze and gave us a bag to take our glass home. It was hard to resist.
I called the others to tell them where we were. Mark said his wife Julie was looking for a lifesaver. I couldn’t imagine why she suddenly had to have candy. It turned out she bought a Light Saver, which is a Luke Skywalker type sword that casts a psychedelic light show out of its tip. She plans to use it next time they go camping in their itty bitty Teardrop Trailer. Light savers are apparently big with Teardroppers. Not being a camper myself, I had no idea.
Our evening at Los Angeles Zoo Lights was phantasmagorical and we’re all ready to go back to the zoo again. I was happy to work off some holiday calories and was glad I didn’t trip in the dark. The Los Angeles Zoo Lights is an annual event during the holiday season so if you’re in the area, don’t miss it.
Baby Boomers never really grow up, but then why should they?
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Do you have favorite light displays were you live? Please leave a comment below.