Outdoor Holiday

Roam a Critter-Cool ‘Winter Wonderland' in Sylmar

Bobcats, foxes, and sloths, oh my: It's the merriest time of year at the Wildlife Learning Center.

Wildlife Learning Center

What to Know

  • 16027 Yarnell Street in Sylmar
  • A "Winter Wonderland" glitters on Fridays and Saturdays through Jan. 8 (closed Christmas Day), 5 to 8 p.m.
  • $18 adults, $16 children (update: Next availability is on Friday, Dec. 31)

Animals are such a major, and majorly comforting, part of our annual celebrations.

Our dogs are curled at our feet as we sip a second cup of cocoa, the cats are curious about all of the shiny baubles adorning the tree's branches, and reindeer?

Even if they're not physically in our homes, we see their pictures everywhere, on wrapping paper, greeting cards, and television shows, too.

But the celebratory season doesn't give us many opportunities to interact with animals we aren't personally acquainted with, or don't know much about, in a real-life, up-close, nicely educational way.

The Wildlife Learning Center in Sylmar is always seeking to build those bridges, between humans and critters like sloths, foxes, and bobcats, and that mission doesn't stop when the holidays begin.

In fact, the property folds the festive spirit into a multi-night celebration, one that includes twinkly bulbs, pretty decorations, and complimentary hot cocoa or cider (as well as cookies to munch, too).

It's the center's Winter Wonderland we're mooning over, and it is happening over several Friday and Saturday evenings to come, except for Christmas Night.

Advance tickets are available on the center's site. The next available tickets are on Friday, Dec. 31.

There isn't a set program to the happening. Rather guests may savor a warm beverage while they enjoy the illuminated property, soaking in the splendor of the outdoor spaces.

But the big draw, of course, is getting the opportunity to see the resident animals at night, including a two-toed sloth, a gray fox, and various macaws.

The residents won't be rocking Santa hats or costumes, but they will offer a true nature-strong dimension to the seasonal affair.

And, after all, isn't nature a central part of our yuletide celebrations?

From the fir trees inside our homes, to carols that reference animals, to those gorgeous greeting cards depicting frosted woods or northerly snow, the natural world is always an essential element of how we holiday.

Do you need some more cawing and hooting in your holiday season?

Flap your wings and make for this Sylmar spot, which is known for its educational focus, its festive events, and, yes, all of those amazing and beautiful beings, be they feathered, furry, or covered in scales.

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