‘Tis the season for Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium! Can you help us come up with a caption for this photo of the Columbus Zoo’s Jack Hanna with a couple of his 2-legged friends?

Thinking about how you’re going to ring in the New Year?  The bells of Dublin, Ohio are calling you to step away from the Champagne toast. 

Two of our local businesses are tapping their reserves of Irish attitude to put together a themed New Year’s Eve getaway. The lovely Chase Suite Dublin Hotel is offering a New Year’s Eve package that includes an overnight stay in a HUGE suite, a freshly made breakfast buffet in the hotel’s Irish themed gatehouse, use of the enclosed hot tub and complimentary use of the hotel’s extensive DVD library … all at rates starting at just $79 (plus tax).  Book a fireplace suite for just $94 (plus tax). Two bedroom fireplace suites are available for $139 (with tax).  Add a little Irish cheer with a romantic Irish basket filled with Bailey’s Irish Cream, candles and more (just $25, plus tax).

Then, head over to The Brazenhead Pub in Historic Dublin, Ohio. Modeled after Dublin Ireland’s oldest watering hole, the pub will feature live music by Dublin Irish Festival favorite, Brigid’s Cross (9 p.m.-1 a.m.); $3.50 Guinness, Harp, Smithwicks & Stella all night; free Irish Car Bomb toast at midnight; free snack buffet after midnight and Happy Hour pricing until 8 p.m. Did we mention the special NYE menu? Go here for more info. (Be sure to arrive early.)

Spend the first day of the New Year visiting the Polar Frontier at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium or seeing Hanna … the new 200-lb. reticulated python. Don’t miss the other stellar exhibits including Asia Quest and Australia and the Islands.

For more information about Dublin getaway deals (including the Kids Go Free Wildlights Getaway—valid through Jan. 1, 2001), visit www.IrishisanAttitude.com

Does your holiday gift giving routine look like this: (1) Plan ahead (2) Come up with a per-person budget (3) Make a list (4) ResearchColumbus Zoo Wildlights the best deals (5) Brave the traffic & crowds (6) Wrap each and every little thing (7) Wait for Christmas morning (8) Watch the kids rip everything open an average of 2.5 minutes (9) Wait an hour and find them sitting in front of the television (again)?!  Sound familiar? Ever wonder if there isn’t a better way?  Well, yes, actually there is.

Give them an experience. Forget the hours invested in finding the perfect plastic thing that is going to bring them to tears of gratitude. (Sorry to break it to you, but that’s not going to happen.)  Instead, take them away and engage them … body, mind and soul in an activity that is fun for everyone.  And, yes, it just so happens that we have something in mind. 

We know money is tight and that everyone is looking for a great value. (We also know how hard it is to please a kid.) So, the Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau has created a “Kids Go Free Columbus Zoo Wildlights” getaway package that offers a VERY affordable family fun escape filled with all the magic of the season.

The all-inclusive package (which starts around $100) offers free kids admission to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (voted the #1 Zoo in the nation), discounted overnight accommodations at a choice of seven Dublin hotels and free kids meals at 10 Dublin-area restaurants. (Participating restaurants include the Dublin Village Tavern, Digger & Finch, Boston Market, Mary Kelley’s, Graeters Ice Cream, J. Liu, Sunny Street Cafe, Max & Erma’s, Hoggy’s and Menchie’s.) 

Want more? Many of the hotels offer extras like free breakfast for your clan, complimentary shuttle to the Zoo (saving you the $5 parking fee) and/or a welcome gift for the kids.  Not bad, huh?  You build your own package online (www.IrishisanAttitude.com), customizing it to your preferences. Want an indoor pool? Check. Looking for a spa or workout facility? Check. Seeking an evening manager’s reception? Check.

That’s right. You get all that AND the main attraction … Wildlights!  The 22nd year of Wildlights includes Santa’s Reindeer Corral, a Christmas Light Show, photos with Santa and the Magical Timbernacle Forest Chorus in a Very Beary Royal Holiday. The chorus includes 29 melodious animatronic arbors in the Battelle Ice Bear Outpost.  This year the chorus will be playing tribute to the Disney Princesses.

Now, admit it.  You feel better just THINKING about this gift-giving option (versus the other temporary plastic purgatory). Give them the gift of your time this holiday season. We guarantee those memories will last much longer than the plastic stuff.  The “Kids Go Free — Columbus Zoo Wildlights Getaway” package is available through January 1 and can be booked at www.IrishisanAttitude.com.  Questions? 800/245-8387.

-Post by Mary

[clearspring_widget title=”Animoto.com” wid=”4805fc0db4a3562c” pid=”4b16dab372db2910″ width=”432″ height=”240″ domain=”widgets.clearspring.com”]

It’s hard to believe that December is just on the other side of this coming weekend. Dublin’s work crews have been busy wrapping Historic Dublin Ohio in green garland, red bows and hanging those famous icy blue lighted snowflakes over the Scioto River bridge. (You really have to see them at night!) And Dublin’s “Sweet Street” (as High St. recently has become known–due to the many delicious candy, cupcake and cookie shops that have sprung up) is feeling more like Sugarplum Lane.

Next Thursday, December 3 is the City of Dublin’s annual Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at 62 West Bridge Street (east of Indian Run Elementary). The Dublin singers will kick off the festivities with carols at 6 p.m., followed by the arrival of Santa at 6:25 p.m.–when the jolly old elf will help the Mayor and members of City Council light the tree. Then the festivities will move to the Dublin Library (75 N. High St.) where Schade Photography will offer free photos with Santa, courtesy of the Historic Dublin Business Association (HDBA).  There will also be storytelling, refreshments and a chance to meet some reindeer.

The fun continues next Saturday (December 5) with a BriHi celebration in Historic Dublin. Trolley rides will be offered throughout the district. Local merchants will offer discounts to holiday shoppers. Visitors can take part in sampling and  judging a Chili cook-off for just $5. Gingerbread houses created by local high school students will be on display at Sister’s Sweet Shoppe, Our Cupcakery and La Chatelaine.  These charming fantasy creations will be available for sale via a silent auction, as part of a charity fundraiser.

Why not make the most of this family fun weekend by combining these free activities in Historic Dublin with a Kids Go Free Columbus Zoo Wildlights Getaway?  Book your package online in advance, stay at one of the eight participating Dublin hotels, experience Wildlights on Friday evening–then meander Historic Dublin on Saturday shopping, sipping peppermint hot chocolates and celebrating the season.