My mother and grandmother were both huge fans of Christmas. Since the two of them have been long gone though, my family struggles a bit to get into the spirit. Last year I tried making up for it by putting up the first tree in years. I bought presents and hung stockings. There were even indoor twinkle lights and tinsel. It was really nice. But I don’t think it did much to boost the feeling of Christmas in the house. After the New Year, we all went back to our old habits and bad attitudes. Truth be told, I didn’t have a lot of hope that this year would be any better since my efforts failed so badly last year.

That was until the site director at my closest Ivy Tech campus sent an offer out via email. As an Ivy Tech student, I qualified for a free ticket to Christmas at the Zoo. I could also get heavily discounted tickets for as many guests as I wanted! All four of us in the house are pretty big animal lovers, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity for a rare family outing. Not to mention the Christmas lights, carolers, sweet treats, hot chocolate? It had everything we needed to make it a family holiday event. It was perfect! I ordered four tickets and today was the day! (Thanks Ivy Tech!!)

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Regrettably, there weren’t a lot of animals on display. That’s pretty much a given seeing as how cold it gets here in Indiana. I told several coworkers this past week though that I had my eye on the red panda. I was totally going to steal and go home with a red panda! Of course, I didn’t actually steal the Indianapolis Zoo’s red panda. But he’s so darn cute that it made it pretty hard not to try! We were also still able to see a stingray, one of the growing tiger cubs, dog sharks, sea lions, dolphins, penguins, tortoises, snakes, orangutans, and brown bears up close too. Not to mention one of Santa’s reindeer who decided to make a special holiday visit! The lights, carolers, and free refills on cups of “cheer” were a beautiful addition to the environment too. Especially after it started to lightly snow on us just before leaving! And though I wasn’t able to come home with a new pet red panda, there are still ways that I can help take care of them. You can too!

Though I’m still not 100% certain that it was enough to lift the spirits of my dad, brother, and nephew, I’m still glad that we went. I had a wonderful time and made some good holiday memories with the three of them. I’m even thinking of getting a membership to the zoo to go anytime! Maybe we’ll even make Christmas at the Zoo an annual tradition?

What holiday traditions does your family celebrate? Sound off in the comments below or in our new-and-improved discussion forums! 

Author: Joseph Black

According to Wikipedia, I discovered magnesium and carbon dioxide, so that's something.

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