Happy Family Times #37--Zoo Lights and a Living Nativity

Have you done something fun with your family this week? Kelly at Happy Whimsical Hearts and I would love to hear about it. We are gathering different activities to inspire us all to have more fun together times with our families. Please share yours below!

This week I am going to share two family activities. Both are seasonal. The first thing we did was to go to our local zoo for their Zoo Lights exhibit. They literally have the zoo decorated with many Christmas lights. For parts of it it is like walking through the woods with Christmas lights on all the trees (and getting to see the occasional animal in a lit cage). We went to the Zoo Lights a couple of years ago when Hazel was almost two but the night was extremely cold. This year we picked a night that was unusually warm.  Much more fun to walk around in less layers.
Daddy and Hazel strolling along the path
We got to see the bald eagle, the arctic fox, an owl and reindeer as well as a river otter.
The reindeer comes to say hello
After strolling through the animals we went over towards the gift shop and found this photo prop.
Sorry, Steve is not great with the camera.

Then we headed to Santa's Castle for Hazel's third picture with Santa this year. And saw the many displays outside of it which included lights, dolls, a train and much more.

Then it was time for the rides. Hazel wanted to go on the carousel. The last time we had come to Zoo Lights was the first time she went on a carousel ever.
And of course a trip to the zoo is not complete without a ride on the train.
Then we stopped at the snack bar for some hot apple cider and popcorn and headed home for dinner.

Our other big activity this week was on Saturday we went to a living nativity. We invited Steve's mother to join us. We traveled just over half an hour to a church that hosts a Journey to Bethlehem for three nights. They literally have you pretend you are journeying from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census. You get to see Roman soldiers, the wisemen, shepherds with live sheep and goats, the inn keeper, angels, and of course the holy family. It was an amazing experience. Hazel is hoping to go back every year.

When you first get there you are taken into the sanctuary for a preview of the event and getting the important information before hand of the prophets and the history of Mary, etc. Plus you get to see the ruins of King Herrod's castle and all sorts of things. Then when it is your groups turn you are taken into another room which is set up as Joseph's Carpentry Shop and you are met with your leaders for the journey and are given your papers (and identity for the journey). Hazel's journey identity was Hazael! What a coincidence! The first stop was map maker who showed the journey on a map and explained why you do not take the direct route (it is not safe). Then you were stopped by beggars and stopped at a rabbi's encampment. Then the Roman soldiers stop you and ask to see papers and ask all sorts of questions of a few. Hazel was scared of the soldiers and was clinging to me, so they left us alone.

Then we met the wisemen who showed us their gifts and explained what each was. Then we saw the shepherds and sheep. There the angel came to give the good news and then more angels sang. Then we went to the inn to find a room and of course there was none and we were taken to the stable where we found Joseph and Mary and Jesus (a two-month-old baby well wrapped). After the shepherds left the children were allowed to move closer to the family and there was not much room for my shy little girl so the narrator lifted her onto a hay stack and held her there while he spoke to us. This is the one picture I took. You can see Hazel on the hay stack looking at the holy family.
Then we went back inside the church where they served cookies, coffee, hot cocoa and had a story corner for children and information on the church, etc. everywhere. We all agreed it was an amazing experience and we definitely want to go back again next year. If you get a chance to go to a living nativity I highly recommend it.

Now it is your turn to share how your family has spent some quality time lately.

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Ok, now for our PARTY!! Please share your FUN Family Times!!


  1. How magical to enjoy the zoo at night with lots of lights! We don't have something like that near us, but it sounds lovely. And the living nativity is such a great way to make it all come to life for the kids :-)

  2. The lights and nativity look like great memory-makers. We were hit by a big winter storm so spent the weekend playing in over a foot of snow. It meant some of our other plans had to be cancelled but still lots of fun.


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