- Avoid areas with unruly, ill-mannered children like the Primate House, the Big Cats House, the gift shop, the carousel, the polar bear habitat, and the sea lion pool.
- Bring your own hot beverage. You can either pay $2 for a styrofoam cup of watered down Swiss Miss, or you can invest in an expensive-but-totally worth it thermos that fits in your bag and holds 16 oz. of your favorite hot beverage. Feel free to spike your drink with Kahlua, Bailey’s, or any liquor that makes nice with cocoa, coffee, tea, or me. If I go again, I may fill my thermos with hot toddies.
- Bring your camera to take pictures of bright lights, cute guy doing the ice sculptures, and whatever animals are still up at 7:30 on a Saturday night.
- Take transit — the 151 Sheridan bus stops at the main entrance, and the 22 Clark and 36 Broadway bus are a block away.
- Take a pal or two with you — it’s no fun snarking on your own. By yourself, you just sound bitter.
- Food-wise, the Safari Café and a cart on the Mall sells popcorn, kettle corn, candy, and other snacks. They’re outdoors, though. Park Place Café has indoor seating (it’s a food court) and while not all of its stations may be open, it has a guy selling beer and wine.
- Keep an open mind towards Mannheim Steamroller. Or at least prepare yourself if you want to enjoy the tree light show.