Portland, OR. It wouldn’t be the holidays in Portland for thousands of people without a visit to the Oregon Zoo’s annual winter festival, ZooLights. As visitors walk around the zoo, they see a display of more than million and half lights, and experience the zoo in a whole new light. ZooLights runs through January 1, 2017.
ZooLights hours are 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The grounds remain open for one hour after gates close. For more details click: http://www.oregonzoo.org/zoolights
Here’s a look at a few of the displays:
Here are answers to some FAQs from the Oregon Zoo:
ZooLights tickets vs. regular zoo tickets – what’s the difference?
ZooLights tickets are valid after 4 p.m. To enter the zoo earlier, a regular admission ticket must be purchased. The zoo does not close between regular hours and ZooLights — daytime visitors are welcome to stay on grounds. However, there is no re-entry to the zoo after 4 p.m.
How much does ZooLights cost for members?
Oregon Zoo members get free admission to ZooLights. Members also have access to a preview on November 23, before ZooLights opens to the public. Visit the special offers page for more info about member discounts.
Can members bring guests to ZooLights?
Yes, members can bring guests to ZooLights just as they would on a regular zoo visit. The number of guests allowed is based on the membership level. Members can buy additional guest tickets online for quicker entry.
What time do the lights come on?
Lights start turning on at 4 p.m., and are fully lit by 5 p.m.
When is the best time of day to visit ZooLights?
ZooLights is very popular during the first portion of the evening, from 5-7 p.m. Guests who want to avoid the crowds may want to visit after 7-7:30 p.m. The train lines tend to be longest from 6-7 p.m. The train will continue running until the line is gone, so experiencing the walk-through portion (95% of ZooLights) first may lead to the most positive guest experience.
What’s the least busy time to visit ZooLights?
ZooLights is busiest at the beginning of the evening, and crowds tend to thin out after 7:30 p.m. The least busy nights are weekdays during the first few weeks of ZooLights (Nov. 28 – Dec. 1 and Dec. 5-8).
How long is the train ride and how much does it cost?
Train rides last 6-8 minutes, including a brief winter-themed interlude and performance near the Family Farm. The ride includes lights not visible from the walking paths, but 95 percent of the displays are only visible on the walk-through experience. Trains begin running at 4:45 p.m. Tickets are $3.50 for members and $4 for all others.
When is the best time to ride the train?
Train lines tend to be longest from 6 to 7 p.m. To reduce wait time, the zoo is selling train rides in 15-minute increments. Visitors are encouraged to schedule their rides early by purchasing online here. Please factor in travel time and parking when choosing your timed ticket. Parking lots often fill early in the evening, so riding MAX is the best way to guarantee you make it to ZooLights. Plan your MAX trip with TriMet’s trip planner.
What if I miss the time I selected for my train ride?
Visitors who miss their selected ride period can join the line to get on the next available train.
What’s the parking situation?
Learn more about parking and transportation options. Because parking lots fill quickly on busy evenings, visitors are encouraged to ride MAX to the zoo. The parking lot adjacent to the zoo is owned by Portland Parks, and fees collected are reinvested to improve Washington Park.
How do we take MAX to the zoo?
Parking is available at the Sunset Transit Center after 4 p.m. weekdays and all day on weekends. Visitors can park for free and take the Blue or Red line one stop toward City Center to the Washington Park MAX station. Use the TriMet Trip Planner to plan your ZooLights trip.
Will ZooLights close for inclement weather?
If the decision is made to close the zoo, an announcement will be made to local news outlets, on our website and via our Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Are there dinner and treat options available?
The Cascade Grill, Grill-to-Go, Black Rhino, BearWalk Café and AfriCafe are open most nights, as are carts along the ZooLights path featuring hot chocolate, popcorn and the zoo’s signature treat — elephant ears. Additional food carts will be available, excluding Value Nights. See the menu.
I want to perform at ZooLights. How do I sign up?
Please fill out the performance request form. Please note that due to demand not all groups may be scheduled.
Are wheelchairs available?
Strollers, wheelchairs and electric scooters are available for rent through the ZooStore in the entry plaza. Learn more about accessibility at the zoo.