Zoo's holiday light display starts early with two festive nights for the 21+ crowd
What could be more Portland than ZooLights, the Oregon Zoo's walk-through winter wonderland of brightly colored lights? How about ZooLights ... with beer, live music, food carts and the Unipiper?
On Nov. 22-23, the zoo will host its third annual BrewLights: a ZooLights experience just for the 21-and-over crowd. Visitors can sample local beers, seltzers and ciders while strolling among forests of brightly lit trees and dazzling 3-D light sculptures.
"If you've ever wondered what ZooLights would be like without the kids, BrewLights is for you," said zoo event coordinator Barbara Bennett-Heck. "While Northwest beer, seltzers and ciders are available at the zoo every day, this is a special event with more than 50 vendors."
Admission includes a souvenir light-up cup and 10 tasting tickets. Food will be available for purchase from some of the area's favorite food carts as well as from zoo food outlets. BrewLights typically sells out before the event date, and purchasing online tickets in advance is recommended.
"It's the perfect way to kick off the holiday season, try some new beers and support a great cause," Bennett-Heck said. "Proceeds from BrewLights benefit the zoo's programs for conservation, education and animal welfare."
Zoo officials anticipate a lot of interest in this event and are encouraging visitors to take MAX or ride share to the zoo rather than driving.
"We hate for people to show up and be disappointed when they can't park," said Ivan Ratcliff, the zoo's guest services manager. "And MAX is a great way to get to the zoo. You avoid traffic, don't have to worry about parking — and the Washington Park stop lets you off just in front of the zoo entrance."
Festivities begin at 5 p.m. (4 p.m. for early-entry ticket holders), and taps will be pouring until 9:30 p.m. BrewLights is exclusive to guests 21 and over. Valid photo ID must be presented for entry.
Zoo admission will close to regular visitors at 2 p.m. both days in preparation for BrewLights. Guests already on grounds can remain until 2:30 p.m.
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.