Zoo extends hours during 'Sunset at the Zoo' festivities

Water Tower to bring bluegrass to the zoo grass July 24 for second 'Sunset' event

Over the course of four Wednesdays this summer, the Oregon Zoo is offering visitors a little something extra: Sunset at the Zoo, free with regular zoo admission, features extended evening hours packed with live music and entertainment, activities for kids and the chance to get to know animals active during twilight hours.

Sunset at the Zoo debuted in 2012 as an expansion of the zoo's traditional Wednesday concerts. Every other Wednesday in July and August, zoo gates remain open until 8 p.m., with a concert on the lawn at 7 p.m. and activities taking place from 5 p.m. on.

The series kicked off July 10 with an all-star jazz band featuring Mel Brown, and continues this Wednesday, July 24, when high-energy folk and bluegrass band Water Tower takes the main stage.

Also on the bill for July 24: mandolin music from Olivia Duffy and René Berblinger; swing era jazz from Boy and Bean; a bird show from the zoo's popular Wild Life Live program, presented by Portland General Electric; storytelling from the Dragon Theater puppet company; and some advanced hula-hoopery from Erika Fey, aka the Mayor of Hooperville. Guests can also participate in face-painting, self-guided twilight hikes, a glow-in-the-dark dragonfly craft, and games with a "crepuscular creatures" theme.

Sunset at the Zoo is presented this year by Banfield Pet Hospital, with support from Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon and U.S. Bank.