December 07, 2014

Photo Essay: Lighting Up the LA Zoo

Over the last several months, I've been looking for something – anything – to make me feel better. The things that I enjoy haven't really been doing the trick. And anything that does give me a bit of pleasure is too heartbreaking when it ends. Lately, even good things have been feeling like a punishment, a painful reminder of what I haven't got.

Even Halloween couldn't get me out of this hole this year. In September and October, I could barely even try to go to anything. But, for some reason, as time passes, I keep plugging away, persisting to find some reason to drag myself out into public.

I'd been to the zoo in LA during the day – and enjoyed the flamingoes, tapirs, meerkats, and the carousel – but mostly I felt bad for those captive animals, their cages too small for proper roaming. It's one thing when I'm choosing to hide in my studio apartment with no human contact. Those animals don't have a choice.

But I hadn't been to the LA Zoo at night, and was lured back by a holiday lights display – which, for me, is usually a sure thing.

At the entrance, presumably monkeys have taken over the main zoo power source...

...and, of course, filled it with disco balls.

Supposedly, they're the ones lighting up the zoo.

The monkeys are everywhere...

...but you can see lit-up reptiles...

...and rhinos and giraffes...

...and various other representatives of the animal kingdom.

There are some real animals out, too, like the black-necked swans swimming around the Wishing Well.

And some of the artificial animal themes are repeated throughout.

There's more disco to be had farther up the trail at the Fork...

...with spinning mirrorballs hanging from glittering purple-lit trees.

There's also some light magic flashing up through plastic water bottles...

...and heavenly light projections of animals across billowing cloth that mimics the Northern Lights.

Once you pass through the Twinkle Tunnel... reach "ZOOray for Hollywood"...

...where you're reminded that this place we call home is nothing like the North Pole.

We have to fabricate, hang, and electrify our snowflakes.

But we have plenty of magical twilight...

...and groves of trees from which to hang our baubles and ornaments...

...and celestial light displays.

In LA, we're experts at making something out of nothing. We can make it snow – or, at least, look like it's snowing – even in the worst of droughts. And though they're not native to Southern California, every Christmas, we've got real reindeer.

Click here for more holiday festivities around LA.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: Riverside's Festival of Lights at Mission Inn
Photo Essay: Cactus Lights
Photo Essay: A Robot Christmas Nightmare at Robolights
A First Time for Everything
Photo Essay: Rise of the Jack o' Lanterns
Photo Essay: Griffith Park's Old Zoo

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