They had a game to search for the penguins and win a prize. We found several but didn't get them all.
On the first Monday of the month we bundled up the kids for a fun Family Home Evening at Garden D'Lights and Festival of the Nativity. It was a lot for the kids for one evening, even with both of them getting really nice naps before we left. Neither stop included food, so they could only snack in the car. It would have been easier on them to do one on one night and one on the other, but since they're both down in Bellevue, I'd prefer to do them both in the same day than make the drive twice.
Allison looked so cute bundled up on my back, like a pink little teddy bear. She was generally happy as long as I was moving. She expressed her dislike greatly when I would pause for a few seconds to take pictures.
The garden was beautiful as usual. It's fun to walk around trying to identify which kinds of plants/animal/bugs the lights are supposed to be.What they do with running water is incredibly impressive. There's a pretty sparkling river when you first walk in complete with a jumping salmon. There are also icicles, fountains, streams, and ponds as you stroll around the grounds.
It took us forever to figure out what the red and orange lights were. I thought it was a fire at first and then realized it was a rake with leaves.
At the festival of the nativity we dressed Tyler up as a shepherd, Oscar as Joseph, me as Mary, and Allison as baby Jesus. They took some fabulous pictures of us. I actually really like the one before we started posing because it looks like we're all focused on taking care of baby Jesus.
Ty did some puzzles and other activities before we went in to see the nativities. I didn't take many pictures of the nativities themselves since I've been here before and have already taken lots. Allison was such a little sweet pea in the car on the way out.
The next week when mom got here we took a drive down to Woodinville Wonderland. It's an incredible display all on one family's property. They had an ice rink with a train running around it that Ty really liked.
Just across from the parking area they even had a little light show going.
As long as we were down that south we also drove through Keener's Christmas in Bothell
The church has a projector now, which adds nicely to their display.
Ty: I'm tired.
Me: do you want to take a nap in the car on our way to see Christmas lights?
Ty: yes, and you wake me up when we get there.
And that's exactly what happened, except he woke up on his own while I was getting myself bundled up. He was asleep within a minute of turning on the ignition.
We got there right at 6pm when their website said they opened, but apparently they started at 5:30 and it was nearly sold out. The cashier told us it was a 2+ hour line. If I'd known that in advance I wouldn't have come, but since we'd already driven all the way up there, I decided just to go ahead and do it. They give you tickets for hot chocolate and smores, and a nice family behind us in line held our spots while we went over to get them. When we got back they told us that several groups of two had been called up to fill extra space, so we'd probably get through much quicker than expected. Ty played with their four year old boy and did criss cross applesauce on his back. They did call us up after only 30 minutes of waiting, most of which we'd spent at a bench eating our smores, so it really wasn't a bad wait at all. The other little boy seemed sad when we got called to the front and he didn't have a playmate anymore.
I have to say they really were not very efficient in how they filled their seats. The family of 4 could have easily sat where Ty and I did. There's enough room in those carts for 4 people if two of them are small. Ty and I originally sat across from each other but within a minute he wanted to sit in my lap, leaving that extra bench free, and the couple in front of us ended up cuddling together on the same side too. I don't see why they don't at least ask if people are okay squeezing in together to speed up the line. The most they would do was two per cart or two and a baby.
They had some cute ocean themed lights when you first walked in near the water park. The octopus was pretty neat.
Ty liked the big Santa and posing with the character cutouts. Ty really likes "being a penguin," or "being a snowman" as he calls it.
Coming around the bend where the pond is looked really neat. Their display is very well done. I'm surprised there weren't more people. It was less crowded because it was after Christmas, of course, but we went to the Tacoma zoo after Christmas two years ago and that still had plenty of people on a Monday. Maybe it just needs to be better advertised.
I loved the skaters on ice and Ty enjoyed meeting Frosty and Rudolph. If you go before Christmas they have Santa too.
Ty's first ride was on the jeeps. I felt bad for the workers just standing around barely having anyone to operate the rides for and dealing with wet rides in the dark. At least at Halloween they're able to get things ready while it's still light out.
Some of the rides were closed due to afternoon rain making them dangerously wet, but we still had fun on the ones that were operating. The Ferris Wheel and train were two of Ty's favorites that weren't operating, but they were still very well decorated.
They really do an excellent job with the lights. More people need to see this. It was very beautiful.
My only major complaint with the park in general is the high height requirement for some of the rides. Why does my kid need to be 42 inches to go on the teacups or tidal wave (their Lagoon equivalents are 36 inches)?
There was also a small religious display - a nativity, wise men, menorahs, and a dreidel. Ty thinks menorahs are birthday cakes.
Walking and tumbling bears
|The view from across the water|
And last but not least, we rang in the new year with the east coast. We watched the ball drop in Times Square from their projector and the kids got noisemakers and hats. Tyler LOVED the celebration. Allison was less enthused. She'll like it more next year.
I have a feeling my little guy will always want to be the life of the party.