ZooLights FAQs

Please note: The high demand for limited-capacity ZooLights reservations has overwhelmed our ticketing service the past few nights. To avoid long wait times after hours, we will be opening sales at 9 a.m. (rather than midnight). We will also be employing a virtual-queue app to space out demand on the system. When you begin the ticket-buying process, you will be given an estimated wait time. Please note that we still are only able to sell a limited number of tickets per time slot per day, and waiting in line does not guarantee tickets will be available. We hope these changes ease some of the frustrations caused by the high demand. We apologize for any inconvenience, and sincerely thank you for your patience and support.

Is ZooLights continuing in light of the new restrictions?

Yes! We designed the drive through ZooLights experience to provide a safe way for our community to continue this holiday tradition. 

How does the drive-through experience work?

You'll purchase one ticket for each vehicle. When you arrive at the zoo, you'll join a queue to check-in curbside, then proceed to the drive-through entrance. The route will take you on the widest paths of the zoo, including some behind-the-scenes areas around the outside of Elephant Lands. You will see a lot of the same lights as the walk-through experience, from animated animals to immersive tunnels of lights and whimsical displays. The drive through the zoo will take approximately 25-35 minutes. Please note that there is no stopping inside the zoo, and you will not be able to exit your car once you are on the ZooLights path. When you purchase your tickets, you'll have the option to add on snacks and souvenirs, which will be available for pick-up at the check-in station. 

What to know before you go:

  • Masks are required for drivers while interacting with zoo staff during check-in, and for anyone else in the vehicle who may interact with zoo staff.
  • The zoo comes alive in animal-themed lights, however no animals will be viewable.
  • State guidelines note that social gatherings should be limited to your household or no more than six if your gathering includes those from outside your household. Party buses and commercial vehicles will not be allowed.
  • No chains or studded tires are allowed on zoo grounds.
  • While times may vary, the estimated time to drive through ZooLights is 25-30 minutes. Please allow additional 25 minutes to check in and join the queue for entry.
  • For your safety, all tailgates, van/car doors and hatchbacks must remain closed at all times. Riding in the back of a pickup truck is not permitted.
  • Follow the guided route at an even pace of 3-4 mph and keep a minimum distance of 12ft from the vehicle in front of you.
  • Remain in your vehicle during the entire tour, ask staff if you need assistance. Restrooms are not available inside the zoo, however portable restrooms are available for use in lot B before entry into the zoo. In addition, there is one restroom at the TriMet station plaza near lot C. An after-visit family pull-off area is available after you exit the zoo. See map for details.
  • Food and beverages and gifts are available for pre-purchase during the ticket buying process; edits cannot be made after the sale. There will be no on-site sales of food and beverage or gifts to reduce points of contact.
  • Loud noises are not permitted, including honking, loud music and yelling.
  • The following are prohibited during ZooLights, including inside your vehicle:
    – Smoking and vaping
    – Alcohol
    – Pets (except ADA-compliant service animals)
    - Laser pointers and flashlights
  • No pedestrian traffic, bicycles, or motorcycles.
  • Oregon Zoo is not responsible for any collisions or damage to your vehicle during the event.
  • Vehicle size must be no larger than a full-size long bed truck. Maximum vehicle sizes are the following: 10' tall, 8.5' wide and 18.75' long. Vehicles with loud exhaust or engine modifications will NOT be permitted entry, nor will chains or studded tires.
  • For an enhanced experience, once you enter the ZooLights path, turn your headlights off and turn on your parking lights.  Remember to turn your headlights back on as you exit. We also suggest picking your favorite music station or playlist. Local radio stations 103.3 FM or 97.1 CHARLIE are both playing holiday music non-stop through the season.

Will ZooLights close for inclement weather?

If the decision is made to close the zoo, we will send an email to all ticket purchasers for whom we have an address, an announcement will be made to local news outlets, on our website and our social media pages. Refunds will be automatically issued to those affected by a closure.

Are there food options available?

Treats can be pre-ordered when you purchase your ticket, and will be available for pick-up when you check-in.

Why is ZooLights pricing different for different nights?

Attendance typically peaks on weekends and the weeks surrounding school winter break. Reduced admission on some evenings offers guests an opportunity to save money while visiting on nights that are less busy.