Yesterday we took an impromptu trip to the zoo. We really do have an amazing zoo in town but as a family we don’t get there often because it’s fairly far outside of the city limits, and we just don’t always make the effort to go. But yesterday, with the temperature wavering just under 60°, and despite Alfonso and I feeling exhausted by the midweek end of the workday, we talked ourselves into swooping up the kids early from school, eating dinner on the go, and fighting the traffic (it took over an hour in traffic after a few wrong turns). But once we finally arrived and parked, I could see the transformation quickly motivate all of us (Alfonso with his slight road rage, my sheer exhaustion, and the kids with their excited anxiousness).
Each year our zoo covers the trees, buildings, each crevice of visual and walking space with thousands of sparkling lights. The bright seasonal blend of magic and colorful blur was enough to make us momentarily forget the drop in temperature, the dodging in and out of water puddles, and the occasional breezy whiff of unidentified animal funk. We bounced around the park just after dusk, up and down the trails and through the aquarium, where Rafael pressed his nose against the tropical fish tank glass and where Mason, while in the Australian exhibit, was wide-eyed over the reptiles and other slithering and crawling creatures.
Considering our zoo is extensive, and in the dark appears never-ending, there was no way to see everything in two hours. So as we all left the wild lights just slightly cold and exhausted, the adventure was worth it, a memory just as much about the zoo as it was about doing something random—different—all of us together.