Portland, OR. For the first time, visitors who attend ZooLights will be able to enjoy a light display of 1.5 million bright lights, animated animals, and immersive tunnels of lights from their car. This experience has been designed to provide a safe way for the community to continue this holiday tradition. The Oregon Zoo is known for the ZooLights display, but the annual walk-through is suspended along with daytime operations from Nov. 18 to Dec. 2, due to a two-week freeze put in place by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in hopes of slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Visitors drive through ZooLights from earlier this year in a test run-through.

The two-week freeze has taken effect in Oregon, but the state’s most populous county will see those restrictions for even longer. Gov. Brown issued the freeze for at least four weeks in Multnomah County.

Oregon Zoo’s ZooLights runs from Nov. 22nd, till Jan. 10th, with the exception of Dec. 25th. Tickets are available online and must be purchased in advance. Here’s a video about the drive-through ZooLights experience:

“Everything’s been a little different in 2020, and ZooLights is no exception,” explains zoo events manager Nikki Simmons. “Like most of this community, our biggest concern right now is protecting everyone’s health and safety. We’re just thankful we could come up with a good way for the community to enjoy this holiday tradition.”

A child and adult enjoy some of the ZooLights from a test run-through earlier this fall.

How it will work; visitors can purchase one ticket per vehicle and join a queue to check-in curbside then proceed to the drive-through entrance. The route will go through the widest paths of the zoo which includes some behind-the-scene areas around the outside of Elephant Lands taking approximately 30-40 minutes.

A map of the drive-through ZooLights.

To help ensure a safe experience for all, the following measures will be in place during this year’s ZooLights:

  • Timed ticketing/limited attendance: All guests, including members, must reserve their ZooLights tickets in advance via the zoo website. Tickets are only available up to one week in advance of the visit date.
  • Masks/face coverings: Drive-through guests do not need to wear masks while enjoying the lights from inside their vehicle. Masks are required, however, during check-in and other interactions with ZooLights staff.

From the Oregon Zoo website: The Oregon Zoo inspires the community to respect animals and take action on behalf of the natural world. We do this by creating engaging experiences and advancing the highest level of animal welfare, environmental literacy, and conservation science.