The 2011 ZooLights ignite for the first time on Friday, November 25. The sparkling lights and brilliant hues will be cast each evening (except Christmas Eve and Day) through January 1, 2012.
More than a million lights transform the Oregon Zoo into a luminous winter wonderland filled with moving sculptures, forests of lighted trees and animal silhouettes.
Cap off your visit by boarding the zoo’s light-bedecked steamer train, which provides a unique view of the ZooLights splendor.
Admission isn’t cheap, but the experience is memorable (and check out the special and discount nights!). Having grown up in Portland I visited the daytime Oregon Zoo numerous times in my childhood, but to see the place at night, with literal sheets of lights, lit up trees, and illuminated facsimiles of animals is quite the experience.
Splurge and go for a ride on the Washington Park and Zoo Railway, trains run every few minutes during ZooLights. The line may be long, but it moves swiftly, and there’s a hot cocoa purveyor serving the chilled. And really, who doesn’t like a train ride?
Heather and I visited the ZooLights display for our first time last year, and we have devised some tips for getting the most out of the experience.
- Dress extra warm (and dry if it’s a wet evening)
- Arrive early (ZooLights starts at 5pm, but come early to enjoy the zoo. As it approaches darkness head to the train depot to be first in line!)
- Take the MAX (It’ll save you $1.50 on admission with proof of fare, and finding a parking spot can be a pain in the ass)
- Go on a weekday to avoid the longest lines and parking issues!
Visit the ZooLights website for details on pricing, entertainment, hours, specials, etc. Have fun!