Zoolights at the Oregon Zoo is a holiday MUST in Portland. It’s the zoo as you’ve never seen it before – aglow with color from 1.6 MILLION lights! With a clear walking path and lighted route to follow, guests are able to experience all of the lighted scenes and displays during their visit.

Now a family tradition, I love the way my  kids hunt for their favorite displays each year. We eagerly search for the gingerbread house, the carousel, and the Alice in Wonderland display. It’s so fun to see the way their eyes light up as they take in all there is to look at and enjoy.


Though many of the animals are tucked away for the night, you just might get lucky and spot a few! We were able to see the seals, some fish, and even a few penguins. Of course, there are lots of fantastic lighted animals for you to see! Animal lovers may especially enjoy the lawn near AfriCafe. From the lighted animals, to the elaborate scenes, to the light “walls”, there is so much to see!


This year, the Oregon Zoo is offering Value Nights to incentive your visit on non-peak days! If you visit Zoolights Monday through Thursday, you’ll not only enjoy smaller crowds, but you’ll save $5 on admission!! It’s a great option for families.

*Visitors receive reduced admission ($9.95 adults; $7.95 seniors; $4.95 youth) on Mondays through Thursdays through Dec. 17. See the zoo calendar for more info!

On non-value nights the zoo is offering a $5 discount on admission for visitors who take TriMet (proof of ridership required).


Don’t forget to ride the train! The lighted train is my son’s FAVORITE thing, and something he looks forward to all year. This year, keep your eyes open near the farm area….you just might see a favorite character! (On the night we were there, we saw Elsa!!)

Do lights make you hungry? You’re in luck! There is a variety of food and beverages available for purchase. (I recommend the hot cocoa!) You can also snack on maple-bacon cotton candy, pretzels, or the zoo’s famous elephant ears!


Zoo friends are stationed at different spots along the path, ready for photo opportunities and meet & greets with your family.

*I received complimentary admission. Opinions my own.