Bright way to save: Zoo visitors urged to take MAX

December 8, 2017 - 3:19pm

Visitors who ride MAX to ZooLights can get a $5 discount with proof of ridership

With record crowds pouring through the gates, the Oregon Zoo is looking to make people's holidays a lot brighter without making their wallets a lot lighter. Over the Dec. 8-10 weekend, and from Dec. 15 onward, the zoo is offering a $5 admission discount for visitors who take TriMet to ZooLights (proof of ridership required).

ZooLights — the walk-through winter wonderland of more than 1.6 million colored lights — is off to the busiest start in its 30-year history, with nearly 90,000 visits since its Nov. 24 opening. Parking lots have been filling up quickly, especially on weekends, and the zoo is encouraging visitors to take MAX rather than driving.

"We hate for people to show up and be disappointed when they can't park, so we really want to encourage folks to ride MAX," said guest services manager Ivan Ratcliff, who has worked at the zoo since 1982 and been involved with the light display since its inception. "It's a great way to get here — the Washington Park stop lets you off just in front of the zoo entrance."

For those who will be driving, Ratcliff recommends arriving by 4 p.m. or sooner.

"The zoo closes at 4 p.m., then reopens at 5 p.m. for ZooLights," Ratcliff said. "But if you're already inside at 4 p.m., you are welcome to stay on grounds and enjoy the lights as they come on."