ZooLights ends season with free New Year's Eve train rides

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Zoo's 2012 light display draws second-highest attendance in event's 25-year history

ZooLights, the Oregon Zoo's winter wonderland of sparkling lights and colorful hues, closes out one of its most successful years ever Monday, Dec. 31. To celebrate, officials are treating visitors to a free New Year's Eve ride on the light-bedecked zoo train.

ZooLights, presented by Fred Meyer with support from Toyota, has become a local holiday tradition over the past quarter-century. Nearly 180,000 visitors have flocked to the zoo to take in the colorful light displays this year — the second-highest total in the event's 25-year history.

Visitors on New Year's Eve can enjoy free train rides during ZooLights starting at 5 p.m. The ZooLights train can accommodate around 4,500 riders per night, so prospective riders are encouraged to arrive early.

ZooLights hours for Dec. 31 are 5-8 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $8.50 for seniors, $7 for children and free for children 2 and under. ZooLights-goers who ride MAX to the zoo can receive $3 off their admission fee with proof of TriMet ridership.

Dec. 31 is not only the last night of ZooLights this season, it is also the last time the Washington Park and Zoo Railway will be operating on the "Zoo Loop." The railway will be rerouted to make way for the expanded Elephant Lands habitat, which begins construction in 2013.

The Oregon Zoo is a service of Metro and is dedicated to its mission of inspiring the community to create a better future for wildlife. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, Western pond turtles and Oregon spotted frogs. Other projects include studies on black rhinos, Asian elephants, polar bears and bats.
 
The zoo relies in part on community support through donations to the Oregon Zoo Foundation to undertake these and many other animal welfare, education and sustainability programs. The zoo is located five minutes from downtown Portland, just off Highway 26 at exit 72. The zoo is also accessible by MAX light rail line. Visitors who travel to the zoo via MAX receive $1.50 off zoo admission. Find fare and route information online or by calling TriMet Customer Service at 503-238-RIDE (7433).
 
General zoo admission is $10.50 (ages 12-64), $9 for seniors (65 and up), $7.50 for children (ages 3-11) and free for those 2 and younger; 25 cents of the admission price helps fund regional conservation projects through the zoo’s Future for Wildlife program. A parking fee of $4 per car is also required. Additional information is available by calling 503-226-1561.

Media contact: 

Hova Najarian | 503-220-5714 | hova.najarian@oregonzoo.org