Portland, OR. The Oregon Zoo’s walk-through winter wonderland of more than 1.6 million colored lights opened on November 21st and is attracting more visitors than ever. According to zoo officials, over the past five years, more than a million visitors have strolled through the forests of lighted trees, been dazzled by life-size illuminated animal silhouettes and ridden the light-bedecked zoo trains. “Attendance has been off the charts the past several years,” said Ivan Ratcliff, the zoo’s guest services manager. Advance purchase tickets run from $17.95 for adults to $12.95 for children. ZooLights is open through January 5th, 2019, but will be closed December 24th-25th. Full pricing and schedule can be found at this link:https://www.oregonzoo.org/
In addition to visiting elephants, mountain goats and other animals, you can ride the popular lighted train. There are local food carts, special warm drinks and live music.
Here are some photos of what you’ll see:
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit.
Save by not driving
- Both new and existing LYFT users traveling to ZooLights can use the code ZOOLIGHTS18 and get 20 percent off their ride. Find out more.
ZooLights food and beverages
- Guests will find local food carts, elephant ears, cocoa and hearty dinners at ZooLights, so come hungry! See the ZooLights menu.
- In addition to free admission (except for Dec. 24 & 25 when ZooLights is closed), members receive 10% off Gift Shop and food purchases at zoo food locations. New this year, members enjoy DOUBLE DISCOUNT Mondays. Present your membership card at the Gift Shop for 20% off your purchases on Monday nights thoughout ZooLights. Learn more about zoo membership.
- Zoo members receive a discount on ZooLights carousel and train tickets.
- Save on membership – the latest Chinook Book features a $10 off zoo membership coupon.
The ZooLights VIP Experience
GET TICKETS VIP ZooLights nights are Dec. 21, 22 and 23.
- Groups of 20 or more get a 20% discount. Reservations are not required.
Gift Shop specials
- Complete the ZooLights scavenger hunt for a chance to win a gift certificate at the Gift Shop. Check the ZooLights map for details when you arrive.
Have questions about ZooLights? Read our FAQs for illumination.
Show up fashionably late … unless you’re driving.
- “The big rush at ZooLights is usually from 4 to 6 p.m.,” Ratcliff said. “If you come after that, you can avoid some of the crowds. This strategy only works if you’re taking MAX though. If you’re driving, I recommend getting here by 4 p.m. or sooner and allow an extra 30 minutes for traffic and parking. The main parking lot, and even the shuttle lots, fill up fast, especially on weekends.” Visitor can check real time on-site parking availability at gettingtozoolights.com/drive.
It’s not all about the train.
- “A lot of people focus on the train, but really that’s just one part of the ZooLights experience,” Ratcliff said. “Around 90 percent of the lights are along the walking paths. I recommend scheduling your ride online before you visit — then you can stroll around the grounds and enjoy the lights until your appointed train time.”
About the Oregon Zoo:
The Oregon Zoo is a service of Metro and is dedicated to its mission of inspiring the community to create a better future for wildlife. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, Western pond turtles and Oregon spotted frogs. Other projects include studies on black rhinos, Asian elephants, polar bears and bats.
The zoo relies in part on community support through donations to the Oregon Zoo Foundation to undertake these and many other animal welfare, education and sustainability programs. The zoo is located five minutes from downtown Portland, just off Highway 26 at exit 72. The zoo is also accessible by MAX light rail line. Visitors who travel to the zoo via MAX receive $1.50 off zoo admission. Find fare and route information online or by calling TriMet Customer Service at 503-238-RIDE (7433).
General zoo admission is $10.50 (ages 12-64), $9 for seniors (65 and up), $7.50 for children (ages 3-11) and free for those 2 and younger; 25 cents of the admission price helps fund regional conservation projects through the zoo’s Future for Wildlife program. A parking fee of $4 per car is also required. Additional information is available by calling 503-226-1561.