'Sunset at the Zoo' offers one more chance for summer fun

August 20, 2013 - 11:04am

Trashcan Joe and Mr. Ben to perform as zoo extends hours on Aug. 21

Don't panic! Yes, back-to-school sales are starting — and, yes, the leaves on top of that one tree are starting to look a bit yellow... But it's not too late to enjoy an idyllic, family-friendly summer evening at the Oregon Zoo.

The Sunset at the Zoo series — free with regular zoo admission — concludes Wednesday, Aug. 21, with live music and entertainment, activities for kids and the chance to get to know animals active during twilight hours. Zoo gates remain open until 8 p.m. with music and activities taking place from 5 p.m. on. (Visitors on zoo grounds by 8 p.m. may stay until 9:30.)

This week's festivities include a 7:45 p.m. set from Trashcan Joe, a local outfit that plays old-timey jazz, ragtime and blues on a variety of instruments, many of them homemade. (The band's name is shorthand for a "trashcan banjo"). And at 6 p.m., little ones and their grownup family members can rock out together with Mr. Ben — hailed by Portland Monthly as "the reigning king of Portland's budding 'kindie' music scene."

Also on the bill at various locations around the zoo: the 10-member-strong Zimba! marimba ensemble, specializing in the music of Zimbabwe and other countries of southern Africa; an unplugged set by local country-punkers Sassparilla; 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.