Trail of Lights ZiP Fast Pass Giveaway

Nothing kills my Christmas spirit faster than long lines and crowds.*

Because I have some issues with masses of humanity, I have to admit that it’s been years since my last trip to the Trail of Lights. The thought of losing sight of my little kids, as they darted off in the direction of sparkly things, filled me with dread.

Due to my (mostly unfounded) skittishness, I missed out on an Austin tradition for years. I grew up in Austin – I know, it’s weird, since none of the other 742 million people who live here are from here – and we always visited the trail when I was a child. I have happy memories of twirling under the Zilker Tree, riding the Zephyr in the dark, and driving through the Trail of Lights.

This year I was invited to attend a Trail of Lights preview with the Austin Bloggers group, and I jumped at the chance. The year 2015 is my year to get over silly aversions to things like crowds.** The year 2015 is my year to introduce a new generation of Austinites to one of our treasured traditions.

Some things have changed in the three-plus decades since my last visit. For example, now you walk through the trail instead of driving. Hooray for fewer emissions! The trail looks a bit different, and the corporate sponsors are new, but in many ways I was heralded directly back to my childhood.

It was a perfect night, clear and chilly, just as I always remember it being (back before our freakish climate change was so apparent in our temps). The Austin skyline glittered in the background, making me happy to be alive and living in Austin. Who isn’t, really?

Check out some pictures, below, and please excuse the poor quality. I forgot my camera, and my iPhone is, according to my nine year old, “super old and out of date.” He asked Santa to bring me a new phone. I would love to think it’s altruistic on his part, but I know he thinks a new phone for mom equals a hand-me-down phone for kid. He is wrong. Still, I hope Santa heeds his request and brings me a phone with a decent camera.

So. Photos. And… a chance to win a ZiP Fast Pass, presented by HomeAway, that gets you into the Trail of Lights one hour before it opens to the public. Details after the photos.

IMG_5931

Family selfie at the trail’s rainbow entrance.

IMG_5944

This display is called “Three Trees,” though as a kid I overheard pointed out, there are actually closer to 20 trees.

IMG_5942

Covering their heads. In case of bats. This is my favorite display on the trail: the Austin Bat Cave.

IMG_5947

The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.

IMG_5949

That blurry business is the Austin skyline behind the Trail of Lights.

IMG_5952

If you’re going to the trail, you should also visit the Zilker Tree, erected on one of Austin’s famous Moontowers. If you’re feeling crazy, spin in circles while staring up into the center of the tree. (Do this before eating beignets, kettle corn, and funnel cakes.)

I know you want to go see it all for yourself now. If you also happen to have enochlophobia (fear of large crowds and gatherings of people), you need this ZiP Fast Pass. The pass is worth $15, and gets you and any children under five in at 6 p.m., one hour before the trail opens. Read more details about ZiP on the Trail of Lights ticket information page.

With the ZiP you’ll avoid long lines, see one of Austin’s best holiday sights, and make lasting family memories. The 6 p.m. entry allows you to do all of that, and get the kids home, snug in their beds, on time.

All the details you need about the Trail of Lights, like location, parking, activities, and more can be found here. The trail is open December 8-22, with free admission until the 15th. Admission costs $3 (for 12 and over) from the 16th – 22nd.

How do you win the ZiP Fast Pass? Easy, peasy. Leave a comment below telling me your favorite, holiday-season family activity or tradition.

Fine print: The winner will be picked at random, using Random.org. This giveaway is open until 8 a.m., Thursday, December 10, 2015. The winner will be notified by noon CST on Thursday, December 10. If the winner cannot be contacted, another entrant will be chosen.

 

*Also: mean people, intolerant people, and fear-mongering.
** Will not be getting over the things listed in the first asterisk.

Recent Posts

I Did Not Meet Lily Tomlin

I Did Not Meet Lily Tomlin

In the summer of 2005 I was pregnant, but didn’t know it yet. I was in Minneapolis-St. Paul for a family wedding, and all I could think about was taking a nap. And then another nap. I assumed I was dying, though in the back of my mind I knew I could be growing a person. The Twin Cities were in the middle of a heat wave. Mark and I left hot, humid Houston, where the air conditioner was our best friend, for are-you-kidding-me-it’s-hotter Minnesota, where the air conditioners could not handle the heat. I take heat waves with me everywhere I go, by the way. I’ve melted snow in Denver, and suffered a sunburn in Seattle. If you’re looking to escape the Texas heat, you probably should not plan a trip with me. In between showering off the sweat and napping, I was on a mission. I heard that the cast of the upcoming A Prairie Home Companion movie was staying in our hotel. I was obsessed. I’m a huge Garrison Keillor fan, not to mention that the movie cast was worth a bit of stalking. If you aren’t familiar with the movie, go take a look at the cast. I mean. It’s a good one. I’d met Tommy Lee Jones before, and he did not buy me a drink or regale me with stories of his life and career, so I didn’t really care if I saw him again. But the rest of them? I wanted a look. And yes, I wanted them to buy me a drink (maybe a ginger ale, just in case it was a baby... read more
Move. Act. Love.

Move. Act. Love.

Lately, I feel raw, like my emotions are all sitting on top of my skin. A suit made of human emotions, if you will. (It puts the lotion in the basket, but with feelings rather than skin?) Joking aside, since I’m not feeling especially jokey at the moment, when this rawness comes over me I succumb to inertia. When this happens, I can’t decide if I want to watch the news or boycott it forever, read the Internets or shut off my wifi for eternity, scroll Facebook and Twitter or run the other way. We are bombarded with hate, and thanks to our constant connectivity it’s hard to avoid the vitriol. My natural inclination is to see the good in everyone. I automatically assume everyone I encounter is a decent human, and consequently, sometimes I’m shocked and dismayed to discover otherwise. I’m a bizarre-o combination of Pollyanna and a realist. I’m the first one to say, “That project is too big, we’ll never finish it.” I’m also the first one to say, “I bet that guy driving like a jerk is just having a terrible day. Maybe he’s on his way to an emergency at the hospital.” When I feel the rawness, however, I go beyond realist, straight to Eeyore territory. With the sting of tears constantly threatening behind my eyes, I feel defeated. Our world is full of hurt. It’s full of people who are angry, racist, and homophobic. It’s full of people committing acts of terror in the name of their beliefs. What are we supposed to do about this? What can we do? Anything? I feel... read more
Managing Summertime Expectations (Let’s Get Real)

Managing Summertime Expectations (Let’s Get Real)

Let’s talk summer. It’s my very favorite season… until about June 27 when my enthusiasm for being Super Summer Mom flags, my to-do list remains undone, and the thermometer hovers in the high nineties by mid-morning snack time. Summer quickly becomes my second-favorite season behind any season during which I have five minutes of quiet, thinking time to myself while not sweating. This is what I want summer to look like (a rough outline, since our educational activities will vary by day, of course): 8:00 – A healthy, no sugar breakfast, and pleasant conversation about our day. Breakfast is followed by a short educational enrichment task, just to keep our skills sharp and prepare for the upcoming year 9:00-Noon – Swim team, park time with optional nature observation, and a healthy, veggie-and-fruit-packed lunch (We spend hours at swim team due to practice schedules. It’s sort of crazy and I sort of love it.) 12:30 – Clean up from swim team, regroup, plan our afternoon activities 1:30 – Chores done happily and without incessant questioning or whining 2:00 – Fun time! Options include, but are not limited to, museums, community service, movies, swimming 5:00 – Quiet reading time, followed by electronics time 6:00 – Dinner, homemade and full of fresh, healthy ingredients, obviously 7:00 – Family fun time! Options include an evening walk or trip to the pool, or maybe a play date with friends. 9:00 – Bedtime, accomplished in an orderly manner with no reminders to brush teeth Not on the above list: My writing and exercise time from 5-8 a.m., a total snap for me since I am, by nature,... read more

And We’re Off… Like a Herd of Turtles

Welcome to Missy Stevens Writes! Technical difficulties delayed things around here. Aren’t there always technical difficulties? There are when I’m running the technology. Thanks to Jen at Blue Yonder Design for stepping in and fixing my mess(es). I’m officially open for business now, though. Or blogging. Blogging business. In continuing with my haphazard theme, I’m launching on a Friday, and will be attempting my first new content during the last week of school. This should be fun. (New bloggers, this is not the place to turn for a how-to tutorial.) My About page is updated, if you’re looking for new content right this minute. The Good Stuff page is coming soon, too. Check back next week. Oh, and please go look at the pretty Facebook image Blue Yonder Design made for me. You can like the page while you are there. It’s free, and comes with loads of fascinating updates and thoughts from me. You won’t regret it. And if you do regret it, don’t tell me about it. I can’t fix all of your problems. Jeez. Thanks for hanging in there, or for stopping by for the first time, or for giving me another chance. However you ended up here, I’m grateful. See you next... read more

About Me

Lapsed homemaker. Looking to hire a full-time housekeeper who will work for the sheer joy of a job well done and free coffee. Interested parties, DM please.

Get My Newsletter

* indicates required

Legacy Collective