Oregon Zoo Lights
Fun useless fact: It was so much colder the next year all we wanted to do was ride the train for quicker viewing. They decorate the train now too.
Before you ride the train or walk around buy a hot chocolate. You can also opt to bring your own hot chocolate, since they allow you to bring your own food and drink into the zoo.
Despite being one of the most beloved holiday events in Portland, we’ve never experienced crowd issues. This past year they added live music, which was a nice touch.
If you visit earlier during the event on a weekday you typically pay $5 less for admission.
Oregon is cold, be sure to check the weather the day you plan to attend ZooLights. Most likely you will need a heavy coat, gloves, and a hat. I know some that even wear their ski clothes!
Even though most of the animals are put up they still keep open the viewing areas. Which means you can go see the baby elephant, Lily. When we got there she was sleeping, but the other elephants kept tapping her until she got up. We didn’t walk through the monkey/gorilla area, but I would guess that you could see them as well.
Cascade Grill at the Oregon Zoo
For the first time we ate at the Cascade Grill, the restaurant that you can go to without having to pay for zoo admission. Normally this restaurant closes at 2 PM during the winter, but it stays open late just for ZooLights.
They have soup, salads, Sheppard’s pie, and kid’s meals. You order food at the counter and then find a seat and they bring your food to you. The food was surprisingly good and my kids think they have the best french fries in Portland and I would have to agree. You can get a coupon at the gate for a free kid’s meal.
|Cascade Grill at the Oregon Zoo|
Zoo members get free admission to ZooLights for everyone else it is $17.95 for adults and $12.95 for children. Seniors get a discount as do groups of 20 or more.
The Oregon zoo opens each day at 9:30 a.m., and ZooLights tickets are valid after 4 p.m. ZooLights hours are 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Value Night hours are 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The grounds remain open for one hour after gates close.
Disclosure – I was offered free tickets by the zoo in exchange for this review, but opinions are my own, and we would have gone anyway.