Nashville Zoo(lumination)

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for something fun an unique to do during the holiday season. There are only so many times you can drive through synchronized Christmas lights or watch Elf in a one month period of time. Nashville has really stepped up their Christmas game across town this year, but maybe the most unique is Zoolumination at the Nashville Zoo! Zoolumination is a Chinese Festival of Lights covering 60 acres within the Nashville Zoo. There are over five hundred custom-designed silk lanterns that range from the kind hanging over your head, to the kind that build a life-size Polar Express. There was literally a Chinese dragon the length of a football field… I mean, where else have you seen that in Nashville (let alone your whole life?)


Kyle and I decided to go this past Saturday because it was a mild night (only about 55 degrees). The zoo was packed, but the festival was set up in a way that catered to large crowds and felt manageable and not overwhelming at all. While most people had kids with them, I will say it was an amazing date night experience and there was a lot to please people of all ages. We got there just in time for the 7 o’clock show at the amphitheater and it was insane! The show featured a slew of acrobats traveling from Zigong, China; we’re talking a girl who hula-hooped ten at a time, another who juggled a drum with her feet, the list goes on… it was really impressive and a great way to learn more about the cultural side of the festival!


Zoolumination extends for 63-nights, so there’s no need to worry about getting there in the next couple of (what I imagine to be) very hectic nights with Christmas quickly approaching). If you can get there before 12/23 though, you can take the little ones to visit Santa in the “North Pole Village”. This was honestly my favorite part of the whole experience. I was shocked at the size and scale of the village. The elves, the gingerbread factory, the workshop; it was all larger than life! It was really fun to walk through and observe the kids’ faces in total awe. Kyle and I were saying it would be so much nicer to bring your child to visit Santa at something like this as opposed to the lobby of the mall!


All in all, Zoolumination gets a 10/10 in my book. There is so much to do and see including Chinese food in the food court and food trucks and hot chocolate stands throughout the zoo. The festival will be set up until February 2, 2020 and goes from 5-9 p.m. each night. I would recommend going around the 7 o’clock hour as it seems like you are landing right between the early bird crowd and the late night crew. If you decide to attend, tag me & the Nashville zoo in your Instagram pics (@shannwoodworth @nashvillezoo). Can’t wait to see all of the memories you create this holiday season!

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