WildLights: A Whimsical Desert Tradition

Stroll The Living Zoo's grounds and take in the glitter/sparkle.

DESERT DELIGHTFUL: It's probably not a great idea to put a tiny Santa hat on a Ball Python, and a Bearded Dragon probably doesn't want to rock a set of wearable reindeer antlers. A Great Horned Owl likely does not want to don an ugly Christmas sweater, and a Sonoran Desert Toad wouldn't be into the whole fake beard look. But doing up a famous desert destination at the holidays need not involve the costuming of the destination's inhabitants; the Great Horned Owl and the Sonoran Desert Toad can keep on pursuing their usual routines, without having to dress up for the occasion. Look to The Living Desert for inspiration on this merry matter. Each year, the Palm Desert zoo puts up twinkly lights -- many, many twinkly lights -- and the result is a festive fairyland of bulb-beautiful glow. This allows the snakes and gazelles and camels and meerkats to stick to their unadorned spaces while the paths and other areas of the park get all illuminated. It's quite the show, especially the much-photographed Tunnel of Light, and it serves as a must-do for many visitors to the desert resorts over Christmastime. The name of the sparkly spectacular? Why it's...

WILDLIGHTS: It's the 23rd year for this wander-and-be-wowed happening, a happening that features nearly a million lights artfully strung around succulents and poles and other areas of the animal-lovely landscape. Santa will be in the house, and the carousel and "trackless" train, too. There shall be tunes, and other seasonally sweet stuff, and eats and sips to buy. The dates for WildLights? Think select nights and draw a big ol' circle around Dec. 31, 2015, as that's the final date of its festive run. 

HOW MUCH IS IT? It's ten bucks to get in. And while you're not going to see an ugly Christmas sweater on an owl, or a Santa outfit on a meerkat, you best do a little bundling up, jacket-wise. This is the desert, which is famously warm while the sun is overhead, but temps have a way of getting nippy when night arrives, especially around winter's arrival.

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