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.

I always struggle with what to get my nephews and niece for Christmas. Like most kids I know—they definitely do NOT need any more toys, games, etc. Columbus Zoo Wildlights(Of course, they’ll never admit that.) They have many adult relatives (with more money than I have) that cover their wish lists.  Still, I strive to be THE coolest aunt. (The women in my family are extremely competitive in this way.)

So, I decided last year to give them experiences. Basically, it goes like this: I ask each of them to come up with a list of (a) cool places in Ohio that they’d like to visit (b) fun things they like to do (i.e. ice skating, amusement parks, etc.) and (c) where they like to eat. Then we go through the list together, come up with a compromise and go! Some things get eliminated from the list if they are too expensive (my option). Some things get eliminated if they aren’t a good fit for everyone—(i.e. my nephews would never go for a day of mani/pedis and shopping … much to the chagrin of my niece and I).

This year, I think I’ve found a crowd pleaser that will make everyone happy. Actually, I found it without leaving my desk at work. It’s close-to-home. It’s inexpensive, all packaged up and ready to go. (And it helped that—as part of my job—I helped to create this fun getaway for visitors.) The official name for the package is Kids Go Free-Columbus Zoo Wildlights Getaway. The official details of the package are: (a) It can be booked online Nov. 20-Dec. 31 (b) It includes an overnight stay at a choice of Dublin (OH) hotels (c) It includes free kids passes to Wildlights at The Columbus Zoo (d) It includes a free kids meal at Bob Evans and a free junior scoop for kids from Graeter’s Ice Cream.

The unofficial reasons why I would book one of these packages? (a) The cost of the packages with hotel and Zoo tickets starts at $79 for a family of four. (Yes, you read that right.) That’s less than I would’ve spent on their combined Christmas gifts. (b) Staying at a hotel is WAY more fun than just driving to the Zoo, going out for dinner and ice cream and driving home (i.e. SLUMBER PARTY!, swimming etc.) (c) Contrary to popular belief, Dublin CVB staffers don’t get stuff for free.  But my biggest motivation is completely selfish. After I last planned one of these experiences, my 6-year-old niece gave me a hand-written thank you note that said, “Ant Mimi … you are the bast Aunt EVAR!!!!!!!!”  This year, I’m gonna top that.

-Post by Mary

Big family fun at Wildlights on Saturday night. We arrived about 4 p.m. (before it was too dark) … for a few Wildlights Dublin, OHreasons. Entering the Columbus Zoo was easy with the big new entrance plaza. The parking lot was not yet crowded. We headed to the train exhibit (located just inside the Zoo in the old Sokani Gift Shop) to see the Polar Express train. 

Prior to dusk, we could see animals in their outdoor exhibits like the penguins bobbing through their heated water and the bison wandering in “North America.”  As we enjoyed walking around the Zoo, daylight was waning and the new LED lights grew brighter and brighter. We ended our Zoo visit by watching the new light show around the lake. The grandparents wondered how the computers could make the lights dance so fast. The kids loved the glittering lights in the trees.  We stood near one of the fire barrels to stay warm. By the time that the show was over, the crowds were starting to build since it was nearly dark. The lights looked great. We finished the night with a hot meal at Bob Evans on Sawmill Parkway (thanks to the free kid’s meal coupon at the Zoo exit).  We’re looking forward to returning to Wildlights to try the ice skating rink and funnel cakes! 

-Post by Katie 








As I was driving into work today, I noticed the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is hanging lighWildlights at the Columbus Zoots in preparation for the upcoming Wildlights! holiday celebration. Officials there are enthused about the event being brighter and “greener” than ever with the switchover of half of the three million lights to energy saving LED lights. Additionally, this year’s event brings a new animated light show (around the pond) that will run every 30 minutes.

So … I was thinking maybe we should help them brainstorm some appropriate song ideas for their new light show sound track.  We expect to hear Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer and I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas. But, what else? The Chipmunk Song?  How about God Rest Ye Merry Manatees or Grandma Got Run Over by a Markhor

Okay, we’re brainstorming here. (Meaning every idea counts.) What’s yours? Submit your best song suggestion to this blog by Wildlights! opening day (Nov. 21) and you could win two passes to the event!

-Post by Mary