Zoo Lights

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The winter season in Houston doesn’t start until the Houston Zoo lights up Hermann Park with dazzling animal-themed light shows and thousands of glittering trees and flowers. A trip to the Houston Zoo Lights is a bucket list item for Rice students, and luckily for them, this experience is easily accessible. The Passport to Houston committee from the Rice Program Council (RPC) works hard to ensure that students are able to explore events “outside the hedges” of Rice. Every year, they purchase and reserve hundreds of tickets at the Houston Zoo Lights for students to attend free of charge. Since Hermann Park is just across the street, most students take a stroll along the trails in the park to catch a glimpse of the sparkling lights in the zoo. 


Grace, a Rice student, poses with Sarah, a Rice alumna, in front of a lit-up sign that says "Zoo Lights Houston Zoo."
Grace poses in front of a long walkway lined with trees that are covered in white Christmas lights.

This year was my first time at the Houston Zoo Lights, and I couldn’t be more excited to cross it off my bucket list with Sarah, my past co-intern at the Office of Enrollment. We went at the beginning of December when the chilly 50-degree weather complemented the holiday lights perfectly. Sarah and I were already oohing and ahhing at the lights near the entrance before we saw what the Zoo was fully capable of. As we followed the lights and walked through dozens of unique exhibits, our jaws were glued to the floor.

Sarah poses in front of a lit up mushroom and some lit up Christmas trees
Picture taken over the shoulder of Sarah, a Rice alumna, taking a picture of a field of lit up flowers with a digital camera.
A picture of butterflies lit up with light hanging from the ceiling of a narrow hallway.
Picture shows a lit up sign that says "Texas."

The Houston Zoo certainly knows how to put on a spectacle. From the patriotic Texas exhibit to the indoor water-themed light show, each exhibit was so distinct from another. As the location for Instagram pics, Sarah and I couldn’t stop snapping photos of every exhibit. We finished the night with some late night boba from Teahouse – this was the study break I needed before finals week. Thank you RPC for providing opportunities like this for Rice Owls!


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