Last weekend we continued an annual tradition (which was interrupted last year) of going to Hollywild during the Christmas season. For those of you who have never been to Hollywild, let me first tell you what it is like the other eleven months of the year:
If you wanted to make a movie about a pathetic looking animal being rescued from deplorable conditions to later become a beautiful natural specimen, Hollywild would be a good place to film your opening scene. I honestly don’t understand how PETA has not shut them down. When I see tigers and bears in tiny cages that I think Everett might be able to escape, it concerns me. And I don’t remember so much chain-link fencing at a real zoo. However, during Christmas, Hollywild is magical.
During Christmas, they let you drive through the property on a self guided tour (does this tell you something about the quality and upkeep of the landscaping? Yes, it does.) The tour starts with a festival of lights which would impress a child of any age under, I’m guessing here, nine. We got to meander through this wonder-land of lights in the shape of animals, traditional shapes, and yet-to-be-named-shapes. Our kids loved it.
After the lights, comes the field of semi-tame animals. Driving through the field is like trying to leave the parking lot after a Braves games. Except, in this parking lot, you can feed zebras, donkeys (or donkies,) cows, and reindeer. Also, it’s a field, not a paved lot. I pity the fool who travels all the way to Africa to go on a safari.
After the animal lot, you can park in another field to go to Santa’s Village, which is a petting zoo with goats, camels, cows, a buffalo and the other zebra.
Try getting this close to a camel at a real zoo:
This is Everett recoiling and dropping the cracker he was trying to feed this cow at the sight of the cow’s enormous tongue coming out to accept the cracker.