Skip the usual after-dinner nap, movie or tree-trimming this year and head outdoors.
For the first time, Zoo-Lights, the popular holiday lights show at The Phoenix Zoo, opens on Thanksgiving Day.
More than 2 million lights will illuminate the zoo’s trails, decorated this season as "The Enchanted Storybook."
New attractions include storybook pages to guide guests through the park, an enchanted forest, where children can hear stories, make music and pet animals, and about 100 original light displays.
"It’s not meant to be a traditional zoo visit," said zoo spokesperson Aimee Yamamori. For one thing, it’s dark, and most of the animals will be sleeping.
"We’ve purposely kept it noncommercial," Yamamori said of the two miles of quiet, glittering trails. "It’s really become a family tradition for a lot of people. They stroll the trails for two or three hours, really spending time together."
It also makes a good date night. The romantic, twinkly setting can be hard to resist. "We’ve actually had several proposals at ZooLights over the years," she said.
For those who tire of walking, wagon and carriage rides will be available for a charge. Vendors will offer hot cocoa, coffee, cookies, kettlecorn, churros and other foods.
Zoolights: The Enchanted Storybook
When: 6 to 10 p.m. nightly through Jan. 4. Closed Christmas Day
Where: The Phoenix Zoo, 455 N. Galvin Parkway
Cost: $6 in advance, $7 at the gate. Get advance tickets at Fry’s, at the box office or via phone or the Web.
Information: (602) 273-1341 or www.phoenixzoo.org