It's Monday night and I've just gotten home when there's a knock on my door. I open it and find my boyfriend standing there, rather unexpectedly. He tells me to 'get changed and get in the car' and absolutely won't tell me where we're going. I trust him enough to know it's not a kidnapping, but past that I'm oblivious. So now I have a problem, and every girl reading this already knows what it is. What do I wear? Is casual okay or do I have to step it up a notch? Winter boots or runners? Extra warm socks or everyday regular socks? And I was getting no hints from the boyfriend.

So he eventually gets me into the car and off we go... to the BC Wildlife Park! Every year around the holidays they put on their Annual Wildlights Festival. This year is the 14th year and it runs from December 9th - January 2nd, 5:00pm-9:00pm. Upon our entry (only $12/person!), we were greeted by Santa, jolly as could be and handing out candy canes - definitely a favourite holiday treat of mine. We spent a little bit of time walking around the interior of the building and looking at the different snakes and other reptiles. My favourite snake was Purshia and she is a Coluber constrictor or 'Racer Snake.' She definitely looked like she was built for speed and she had huge black eyes. We also learned a lot walking around the indoor Discovery Centre which explores the various habitats in BC - Rain Forest, Grasslands, Mountains, Interior Plateaus and the North. This is also where the (extremely cute) Burrowing Owls have their home and the BC Wildlife Park is the largest Burrowing Owl breeding facility in the world!

When we finally got outside, the park was beautifully lit up all around with various light displays and I giggled like a little girl when I got to hit the 'push' button on an interactive display which caused a penguin to go slip-sliding off of an iceberg. There was hot chocolate, apple cider, hot dogs and other snacks available for everyone as well. We got to see Uncle Chris the Clown entertain the crowd while we sat around campfires and enjoyed the treats. Even though we had already walked around the park to see the lights, we decided to take the Wildlights Express Mini Train that runs around the park for a second look. It was nice because you get to see the light displays from different angles, and some displays you get closer to on the train than you can following the walking path. You can also take a wagon ride if you want!

Since it is so dark out during the Wildlights Festival, there's not much to see in the way of the animals while you are strolling around the park but we did manage to see the shadowy masses of sleeping buffalo and a few sheep. The noctural coyotes were actively running around their habitat as well, which was fun to see. You are able to go and say hello to the animals in the Home Hardware Double H Corral Family Farm too, and they even had pot belly pigs in there this year. Every night at 7:30pm is the wolf feeding too which is quite the sight to see. You can tell they know it's dinner time as the four of them line up and pace by where the food will be thrown over by the park staff. Once the wolves are fed, the park staff tells the audience a little bit about them and how a wolf pack functions.

In past years, the BC Wildlife Park caps off the night with an incredible fireworks show but new this year was a Laser Light Show that happened twice throughout the evening. It was a fun showcase of what is possible with today's light technology set to Christmas tunes ranging from the smooth Michael Buble to the rockin' Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and the kids absolutely loved it! This event is perfect for a fun family night out. I had a great time while I was there but if I could pass on any advice, it would be to make sure you wear the extra warm socks instead of the everyday regular socks.

Happy Holidays!
Kess