Troubadourable folk buddies Simon and Garfunkel once sang that "it's all happening at the zoo" before retiring from music to live out their days serenely basking in the reptile habitat. Get happening with today's Groupon: for $15, you get a family outing to Holiday Lights at the Zoo at the Chattanooga Zoo (up to a $30 value). The package includes:
- Two adult admissions (up to an $8 value apiece).
- Two children's admissions (a $5 value apiece).
- Four carousel rides (a $1 value apiece).
Holiday Lights at the Zoo will be open to the public on December 9, 10, 16, and 17, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The Chattanooga Zoo opens its doors during wintery nights in December for merry Holiday Lights at the Zoo events, surrounding its cuddly residents with the spirit of the season. Families wander through the zoo's myriad exhibits, which are rendered festive with the addition of holiday lights and chameleons morphing into candy canes. Take the path through the Himalayan Passage to discover the dens of endangered snow leopards and fluffy red pandas. Then press on through Gombe Forest, admiring the beauty of the african crowned crane and the glacial pace of the spur-thighed tortoise. All the while, children can be diverted from plans to sneak a bobcat home with holiday-themed games, crafts, and an impromptu photo op with Santa Claus.
The Chattanooga Zoo opened its doors in 1937 with an exhibit containing two rhesus monkeys. Pretty soon, it had expanded to include bobcats, lions, and gators, until eventually becoming the venerable non-profit institution it is today, supporting conservation efforts for rare and endangered species around the world.
In the zoo's forest area, chimps, wildcats, and tortoises roam their habitats to the sound of churning water beneath two waterfalls. Red pandas scurry around a Himalayan habitat, and spider monkeys spin gossamer webs in the jungle area. Kids can play with goats and sheep at the petting zoo, or take a few revolutions on the carousel. With a refurbished frame from 1927, it spins guests on the backs of hand-carved seats fashioned after endangered animals such as snow leopards and low lying gorillas.
Behind the scenes, the zoo's caretakers work to rehabilitate hundreds of animals each year so that they can return to the wild. They also lead conservation efforts for rare species—including snow leopards, fennec foxes, and cotton-top tamarins—and educate thousands of students annually with interactive events catered to school curricula.