CALM vibes with their autumnal night lights

Jennifer Fain, Copy Editor

Carved pumpkin light, featuring a black cat and spooky friends. Photo by Jennifer Fain / The Runner

Fall is here, and it brings lots of fun festivities, such as Autumn Nights by the California Living Museum, also known as CALM. There are many fun, family-friendly activities to do at the zoo, such as a corn maze, train rides, pumpkin patch, and of course lots of Halloween themed lights!

Guests are asked to park a little way down the road from the zoo at a soccer field, where busses are waiting to escort everyone to the front of the zoo. I really enjoyed the bus ride as it made the experience feel all the more fun and special.

I spoke with a fellow guest, Chelsea Petty, who said, “I love that they are using the busses to shuttle us to and from our cars. It made me feel like I was back in school on a field trip. It was very nostalgic.” The whole experience made you feel like a kid again.

The corn maze also lends to this feeling of childhood wonder as it is just tall enough and tricky enough that adults are able to really get lost in the fun. I would suggest doing the maze at night as it provides the best experience. You are able to fully enjoy the effect of the lights and the fog machines.

While the nighttime is certainly when this event is at its peak, I do recommend showing up when the gates open. While the sun was still shining, we got to walk around and enjoy the animals. Cinnamon the brown bear was out and about, and it was a treat to get to see.

I would also recommend heading to the pumpkin patch before the sun sets to get your pictures and pick the perfect pumpkin.

However, when the sun set and the lights went on, everything changed as the mood switched to a little spooky fun. The zoo had lots of trails to follow that led you through the zoo and through the different scenes.

They have a Day of the Dead section that leads you to the maze. It is lit up with tons of giant marigolds. This path

then leads you to a fork where one can choose a “scary” or a “not so scary” trail. I took both, and I must say, the “not so scary” trail was more fun and had more to offer in the way of lights.

Of course, you can’t go to CALM and not take a train ride. While the train ride is fun and provides some cute ghostly scenes, it doesn’t offer as much as the rest of the zoo. However, it is a good way to rest your feet.

The event is held Thursday through Sunday until Oct. 30. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for kids ages 4 to 15, and kids 3 and under enter free.

I must say, it is worth every penny.