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Come out of hibernation, Calgarians Light up your life at an outdoor light display

Calgarians don’t have to stay in hibernation mode for the next four months. In fact, getting some much needed exercise and enjoying a nice cup of hot cocoa could be exactly what is needed to chase those winter blues away.

No matter what the weather is like, Calgarians are going to get outside and get themselves moving in whatever way they can, according to Lindsay Gallant, manager at Earned Media, Tourism Calgary.

Whether it be cold-weather fat biking, Olympic bobsledding, luging, or speed-skating, Calgary is a city that “lives, breathes, and dreams sports,” said Gallant.

“It’s a city where pulled hamstrings and weekend warriors are as commonplace as passionate sports fans and Olympic athletes.”

But for the less sport-inclined Calgarians, a trip to Zoo Lights or the Airdrie Festival of Lights could be a great alternative to skiing the slopes, or soaring down the same track as Olympians.

Zoo Lights, the Calgary Zoo’s annual light installation, was started as a way to provide the community with an “exciting holiday tradition,” according to Trish Exton-Parder, lead media relations at the Calgary Zoo.

She added that it was a hit from day one.

“When you talk to people who have never been before, I don’t think you can really appreciate what that immersion in light is like until you actually experience it,” she said.

The light installation consists of two million lights, adding up to 50 km, put up throughout the zoo grounds.

Calgary Winter Activities

Downtown Calgary on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. (Photo by Quin Hauck/SAIT)

“It’s a pretty amazing amount of festive lights that you experience from the moment that you walk in the gate.

“It really isn’t something that you can describe to people until they’re here, and you get that injection of holiday spirit whether you like it or not.”

In addition to the lights, Zoo Lights offers skating, fire pits, music, hot cocoa, and more.

Parder recommends students pick up their tickets online to avoid the inevitable line ups and take the LRT for an easy way to experience a great night.

Whether students want to get some fresh air, see the zoo at a time they wouldn’t normally be visiting, enjoy the holiday spirit, or spend time with family, friends, or a date, Parder said that Zoo Lights can be a great way to stay active during the holiday season.

For those willing to travel further North for their outdoor experience, the Airdrie Festival of Lights, Western Canada’s largest, free, outdoor walkthrough Christmas light display, offers miniature train rides through Nose Creek Park, hot beverages, and activities for all ages.

According to Michelle Pirzek, coordinator of the Airdrie Festival of Lights Society, there is something for everyone at the Festival of Lights, and the non-profit society accommodates the young and young at heart.

“What better way to get some exercise and get out there and be active than walking through beautiful Christmas light displays?” said Pirzek.

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