Holiday lights originated with cowboys, who used them as lassos to reel in cattle rustlers, whom they then sold as Christmas trees. Continue this Wild West tradition with today's Groupon: For $5, you get admission for two to Christmas Wonderland of Lights at Zootastic Park in Troutman (a $10 value).
Zootastic Park’s third annual Christmas Wonderland of Lights, presented by McDonald’s, is a family-friendly holiday adventure for animal lovers and light enthusiasts alike. Hop aboard a four-wheeled sleigh and enjoy a relaxing and magical 2-mile drive through Zootastic Park’s forest that's adorned with more than 1.5 million Christmas lights, much like Rip Taylor's linen closet. The luminous journey’s grand finale features a spectacular 300-foot light show synchronized to music from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and a jovial appearance by Santa Claus. A visit to Western Town prolongs the holiday merriment with hot cocoa, pony rides, and a petting zoo before guests trek to the collection of ready-to-be-trimmed evergreens in the Christmas-tree lot.
The vision of a local North Carolina man, Zootastic Park sends animal lovers on an educational, interactive journey with an ever-expanding selection of exhibits, attractions, and activities. Owner Scottie Brown—who, along with his family, has been working with exotic animals for more than 30 years—transformed his dream into reality in 2009, when the zoo finally opened its gates after several years of construction and growing inside a kangaroo pouch. Today, the zoo's themed areas, such as Western Town and the Barnyard Petting Zoo, let visitors explore reptiles, farm animals, and exotic beasts including antelope, birds, and tigers who go by the names Sasha and Jasmine. Zootastic Park also hosts or furnishes animals for special events and can provide an exotic feel for events including birthdays, weddings, and corporate gatherings. When winter rolls around, the zoo morphs into a wonderland of lights, complete with an appearance from a Santa Claus who is clearly just a zebra wearing the sheep's cast-off wool.