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ZooLights Bigger Than Ever

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

A winter wonderland of 1.5 million lights

12/11/2019, 2:23 p.m.

A dazzling display enjoyed by the whole family. More than 1.5 million brightly colored lights transform the Oregon Zoo into a walk-through winter wonderland during ZooLights, now showing for the holiday season. Photo by Michael Durham/Courtesy Oregon Zoo

ZooLights is back! The Oregon Zoo’s walk-through winter wonderland of more than 1.5 million colored lights is open for the holiday season through Sunday, Jan. 5 and it’s bigger than ever. The event draws thousands of visitors to enjoy the forests of lighted trees, life-size illuminated animal silhouettes and take rides on the light-bedecked zoo trains. Ivan Ratcliff, the zoo’s guest services manager, has the following tips to save you money, avoid lines and get the most enjoyment out of your ZooLights experience:

  1. Buy your tickets online at You’ll save $2 per ticket and be able to skip the lines at the front gate.

    1. Ride MAX to the zoo. The Washington Park light rail transit stop lets you off just in front of the zoo entrance.

  1. Start your festivities early in the season. Most ZooLights visitors come on weekends and on the weeks when school’s out.

  2. Show up fashionably late, unless you’re driving. The big rush at ZooLights is usually from 4 to 6 p.m. This strategy only works if you’re taking MAX and don’t have to worry about traffic and parking.

  3. It’s not all about the train. A lot of people focus on the train, but that’s just one part of the ZooLights experience. Around 90 percent of the lights are along the walking paths. Schedule your ride online before you visit — then you can stroll around the grounds and enjoy the lights until your appointed train time.

For online tickets and more information, visit



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