This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.
Even in the rain and cold, visitors flock to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium this time of year. There’s something about half a million lights that can brighten spirits even on the dreariest of nights.
Today, as Zoolights opens once again, it’s likely that some of the adults pushing strollers or shepherding young children were among those who visited the event in its 1987 inaugural season. A quarter century later, Zoolights has become an enduring Sound Sound tradition for many families during the holiday season – and an important revenue source for the zoo.
Favorite attractions from the past are back: the spectacular “flame tree” near the entrance, displays featuring Mount Rainier and the Narrows bridges, scuba-diving Santa feeding the sharks on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and a 100-foot-wide octopus lurking atop the North Pacific Aquarium. New this year for an additional cost: zip line/challenge courses – one geared to children 5 and up and another for those 8 and older.
Zoolights began as an ingenious way to boost attendance during the traditionally slack time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. What began as a relatively modest display of 30 figurines and five miles of lights that drew 21,000 visitors has evolved – a lot.
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