@OregonZoo Lights .. Light up the Night!

I was born and raised in Oregon.

And now I am going to say something that may get my Native Oregonian card taken away from me.

Tonight was the first time I had ever been to Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo. I know right?!? I honestly don’t know why we haven’t been before now.

It was so magical, beautiful, and yes a little cold.

oregon zoo light railwayMy kids absolutely loved it! Of course their favorite part was riding the Zoo Lights Railway. I just love the way that even the trains are decorated for the season. Decked out in lights and all.

oregon zoo animals lights



My second favorite part was the amphitheater. The image of all the animals together was breathtaking. The fact that many of the displays are animated or have motion sensors that play sounds just adds to the slendor.

I will however give you my top 5 tips for the Zoo Lights:

  1. Arrive early! – Admisssion to zoo lights starts at 4pm. I would suggest getting there as close to that time as possible. It will ensure that you get a great parking spot without having to park and take a shuttle to the entrance. Plus, you can enjoy a lot of the animals before it gets dark and they get harder to see.
  2. Pack Snacks – This is mainly if you ride the train. The wait was about 45 minutes and if you are taking young kids, you are going to want something to keep them occupied while they are waiting. Snacks are perfect for this. I would also suggest getting some hot cocoa just before entering the line. Don’t worry, you’ll finish it before you get to the train.
  3. Buy glow sticks – These are fun and it’s a great way to let the kids become part of the lights. 🙂 Plus, it’s a great way for you to keep track of your kids with so many people there.
  4. Dress warmly and in layers – This is a must. When the wind kicked up it made it almost unbearable to be walking or waiting in line. The kids and I had on long johns under our jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts, heavy coats, and of course hats and gloves. We were comfortable. If you are going to ride the train then I would also suggest bringing a small blanket with you. We cuddled up on the train ride and a blanket would have made it super cozy.
  5. Make it a tradition! – After going once you are going to realize, much like I did, that you want to go back again. The kids and I had so much fun walking around, then eating dinner at Cascade Grill and hitting the Zoo Store for a small souvenir before finally heading home. I can definitely see doing this each year.

I can’t thank the Oregon Zoo enough for inviting me to their Media Appreciation Night. Hopefully I can keep my Native Oregonian card for at least one more year now. 😀

If you would like to check out the Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo, the event runs through January 2nd. Hours are Sunday -Thursday:
5 p.m. – 8 p.m. and Friday – Saturday: 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. And make sure you check their site for specials and special performances during the weekend!

penguins zoo lights

zoo lights walkway

oregon zoo lights alligators

oregon zoo lizard


  1. I’m so jealous! I have NEVER been to Zoo Lights, either. Looks like so much fun for adults and kids, though!

  2. You Oregonians…I guess us none native folks have to find creative things to do. 😉

    Great pics Tina!!

  3. WOW! Love the pics! I can’t wait to take the kids!!!
    Lynn W´s last blog post ..A Dash of Snow

  4. We have Zoo Lights here in Utah too….and I confess I’ve never been. Might be time to that. Your pictures are beautiful, it looks like you had a fun night. I’ll definitely take your tips with me ’cause it’s COLD here at night.
    Debbie´s last blog post ..Happy Shopping-Friday Confessional

  5. Looks like an awesome trip! We have never done Zoo lights, and we used to live between two zoos! Might have to research it here in St Louis…
    RobMonroe´s last blog post ..Our Non-Traditional Christmas Tree

  6. sooo sooo bummed I missed it!!!!!! What gorgeous pictures! 🙂


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Oregon Zoo, Tina Kelley. Tina Kelley said: New Blog Post: @OregonZoo Lights .. Light up the Night! http://bit.ly/gseZ9l […]

  2. […] Regardless of why they like it, I love taking them because it is always an educational outing. We experienced animals being fed, peacocks walking the grounds (they no longer do this), and of course Zoo Lights. […]

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