The 2010 Zoolights display stays lit at the Oregon Zoo through January 2 2011. The official website describes Zoolights thusly:
See the zoo transformed into a winter wonderland, aglow with a million lights.*
More than 200 animated animals swing through trees, jump across lawns, hide in bushes and appear in places where they’re least expected.
Displays include swinging monkeys, leaping frogs, flying bats, diving penguins and a perfect-for-photos light sculpture featuring a dozen animals.
And I can think of no more apt description.
It’s not cheap, but the experience is memorable. Having grown up in Portland I visited the daytime Oregon Zoo (née Washington Park 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 (for $2.50 a pop, but it’s got whipped cream on it!). And really, who doesn’t like a train ride?
Heather and I visited the Zoolights display for our first time this past weekend, and we have come up with 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)
Visit the Zoolights website for details on pricing, entertainment, hours, specials, etc. Have fun!
Additional tip: go on a weekday if possible. Things are quite a bit busier on the weekend (especially parking and queuing) and the weekdays usually aren’t too bad.
Aaron – Ah, good one! We were there on a Saturday early and it was rather ridiculously crowded when were leaving around 6pm.