ZooLights FAQs

Why is ZooLights pricing different for different nights?

Attendance typically peaks on weekends and the weeks surrounding Dec. 25.

Reduced admission on Mondays through Thursdays Dec. 2 through Dec. 12 offers guests an opportunity to save money while visiting on nights that are less busy. On regular ZooLights nights, the zoo is offering a $1.50 discount for MAX riders to help alleviate parking congestion.

ZooLights tickets versus regular zoo tickets—what's the difference?

The zoo does not close between regular hours and ZooLights—daytime visitors are welcome to stay on grounds. However, there is no re-entry to the zoo after 4 p.m.

How much does ZooLights cost for members?

Oregon Zoo members get free admission to ZooLights. Visit the special offers page for more info about member discounts.

Can members bring guests to ZooLights?

Yes, members can bring guests to ZooLights just as they would on a regular zoo visit. The number of guests allowed is based on the membership level. Members are encouraged to buy additional guest tickets online for quicker entry.

Are group tickets available?

Yes—and you'll get a 20 percent discount for groups of 20 or more if you get your group tickets online. 

What time do the lights come on?

Lights start turning on at 4 p.m., and are fully lit by 5 p.m.

When is the best time of day to visit ZooLights?

ZooLights is very popular during the first portion of the evening, from 5 to 7 p.m. Guests who want to avoid the crowds may want to visit after 7 or 7:30 p.m.

The train lines tend to be longest from 6 to 7 p.m. The train will continue running until the line is gone, so experiencing the walkthrough portion (95 percent of ZooLights) first may result in a better overall experience at ZooLights!

What's the least busy time to visit ZooLights?

ZooLights is busiest at the beginning of the evening, and crowds tend to thin out after 7:30 p.m. The least busy nights are weekdays during the first few weeks of ZooLights.

How long is the train ride and how much does it cost?

Train rides last six minutes. The ride includes lights not visible from the walking paths, but 95 percent of the displays are only visible on the walkthrough experience. Trains begin running at 4:45 p.m. ZooLights train tickets are $5, and $4.50 for members. You can purchase your train ticket here. 

When is the best time to ride the train?

Train lines tend to be longest from 6 to 7 p.m. To reduce wait time, the zoo sells train rides in 15-minute increments. Visitors are encouraged to schedule their rides early by buying tickets online here. Please factor in travel time and parking when choosing your timed ticket.

What if I miss the time I selected for my train ride?

Visitors who miss their selected ride period can join the line to get on the next available train.

What's the parking situation?

Learn more about parking and transportation options here. Because parking lots fill quickly on busy evenings, visitors are encouraged to ride MAX to the zoo. The parking lot adjacent to the zoo is owned by Portland Parks, and fees collected are reinvested to improve Washington Park.

How do we take MAX to the zoo?

Parking lots often fill early in the evening, so riding MAX is the best way to guarantee you make it to ZooLights. Parking is generally available at the Sunset Transit Center after 4 p.m. weekdays and all day on weekends. Visitors can park for free and take the Blue or Red line one stop toward City Center to the Washington Park MAX station. Use TriMet's trip planner to plan your trip to ZooLights. 

Will ZooLights close for inclement weather?

If the decision is made to close the zoo, an announcement will be made to local news outlets, on our website and via our Facebook events page and Twitter.

Are there food options available?

The AfriCafe is open on ZooLights nights as well as food carts along the ZooLights path, featuring hot chocolate, popcorn and the zoo's signature treat—elephant ears. A variety of local food carts with heartier fare will also be on hand on select nights.

Can I perform at ZooLights?

No, it is no longer feasible to produce live musical performances during this event. Oregon Zoo thanks everyone who has participated in the past.

Are wheelchairs available?

Strollers, wheelchairs and electric scooters are available for rent through the ZooStore in the entry plaza. Learn more about accessibility at the zoo.

What is ZooLights Sensory Night?

ZooLights Sensory Inclusive Night provides an experience for guests with different sensory processing needs and their families. In order to provide a sensory-friendly experience, lighting and sounds are muted and cool down spaces are provided. Sensory Inclusive Night has limited participation in order to minimize crowds. The zoo train will begin operating at 6 p.m. Tickets to sensory night can be purchased online here.

Are there any other discounts for ZooLights?

Find out here.