Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo

Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo

After visiting Peacock Lane in Portland, we found another fun Christmas lights attraction… Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo!

We had been to the Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago a few years back.   It was so magical to see, and a great opportunity to see nocturnal animals awake and active!  I was super excited to learn we had another opportunity to see Zoo Lights, and in our own city no less!

Daniel & Michele at the Zoo Lights in Oregon

As with Peacock Lane, we went to see the Zoo Lights after Christmas, so despite going on a Sunday it was fairly easy to find parking.

If you plan to go in 2014 and it’s before the holiday has passed, public transportation may be your best friend in getting there.  I’d imagine the parking lot would be somewhat of a nightmare.  You also get a discount on your tickets if you take the MAX!

It was still pretty crowded inside for us though, so it was a little hard to get decent pictures.  Here are a few that I managed to get!

Daniel & Michele at the Oregon Zoo Lights

Walkway at the Oregon Zoo

Oregon Zoo Lights

Christmas Lights Portrait

Dragon Zoo Lights

Christmas Train LightsWhile it was nowhere near as cold as it was in Chicago during the winter, we still found it to be uncomfortably chilly.  I would highly recommend bundling up when you go!

Luckily, anywhere you turn there is hot chocolate and other hot beverages being sold throughout the zoo.  Unluckily, there are impossibly long lines at each and every one of them!  I think next time we’ll bring a couple of thermoses with us and avoid the crowds!

Even though we went after Christmas, the zoo itself was very congested, which we were a little surprised at.  I can only imagine if you go before Christmas that it would be a lot worse.  I’d personally try to go during the week, since I’m sure the weekends are crazy.  Despite the crowds, we still had a great time seeing all the beautiful lights – here are a few more pictures!

Other than traditional Christmas lights, they also had an impressive array of displays that incorporated movement (not that you can tell from pictures).

Tree Frog Zoo Lights

Manatee Zoo Lights

This African river scene was particularly impressive, as just about everything moved.

Africa River Scene at the Oregon Zoo Lights

There were also a lot of displays with classic movie characters as well!

Wizard of Oz Zoo Lights

Alice in Wonderland Zoo Lights

My absolute favorite place at the zoo was The Kaleidoscope, which was basically a big tunnel of lights.  Check it out!

Daniel & Michele in the Kaleidoscope Tunnel

Kaleidoscope at the Oregon Zoo

Daniel & Michele in the Kaleidoscope

It was pretty congested at the entrance of the tunnel, because obviously it’s a great photo opportunity.  I don’t think people realized how big it was though, because if you just walked a few steps through, there was way more room to take pictures.  I’d recommended squeezing through the crowds as quickly as you can, to get to the middle of the tunnel.  Then you can take your time and take as many photos as you want, without people constantly walking in your shot!

Oregon Zoo LightsWhile the lights are the main attraction, another advantage of being at the zoo at night is seeing the nocturnal animals.  Two highlights for us were seeing the tigers up and about, and being able to spend time at the bat exhibit.

If you go during dinnertime, you can bring your own food in, but I would highly recommend eating at the Cascade Grill if you can.  The food is delicious and healthy, and they use a lot of local ingredients.  They also serve local beer and wine!

We had a great time at the Zoo Lights, and I can’t wait to go again!  I hope I’ve piqued your interest as well, but even if you can’t make it during the holiday season, the Oregon Zoo is a wonderful place to visit.  So if you’re planning a trip or in the area, definitely add it to your activity list while staying in Portland!

Peacock Lane in Portland, Oregon

Daniel & Michele at Peacock Lane

Since moving to Portland 6 months ago, Daniel and I have been having fun eating and seeing what the city has to offer.  Thanks to Instagram and Portland hashtags, I discovered a street called Peacock Lane during this past holiday season.

Located in Southeast between Stark and Belmont, this cute little street is transformed during Christmas time with a spectacle of lights.  Since the 1920s, every house is decorated from mid-December through New Year’s Eve.  I was really excited when I learned about Peacock Lane, because I never got to visit Candy Cane Lane when I lived in Los Angeles, which is very similar (but on a much bigger scale).

Here are some of my favorite houses and decorations from 2013!

Christmas Lights Displayed at Peacock Lane

Peace on Earth Lights Display

Christmas Lights at Peacock Lane

Merry Christmas from Peacock Lane

The North Pole at Peacock Lane

I loved seeing how creative some people got and their use of beloved Christmas characters.  Can you spot them all?

Peacock Lane Christmas Lights

Nightmare Before Christmas at Peacock Lane

Dr. Seuss at Peacock Lane

Charlie Brown Display at Peacock Lane

These last few displays were my favorite… I guess you can say I’m a little nerdy!

Star Wars Display at Peacock Lane

Don’t blink!  The lights were off at this house, so it was hard to get a good picture, but I can’t resist sharing this Doctor Who display!

Doctor Who Display at Peacock Lane

The Muppet Christmas Carol is one of my favorite Christmas movies, so I was pretty happy when I saw this!

A Muppet Christmas Carol at Peacock Lane

Yoda Christmas Lights at Peacock LaneDaniel and I tried going before Christmas, but the crowds and traffic were pretty nuts!  We did go on a Sunday at around 6pm, so that may have had something to do with it.  We ended up leaving because we weren’t really in the mood to deal with crowds.  We returned after Christmas and practically had the whole street to ourselves!  If you want to go before Christmas, which is understandable, I would suggest trying to go during the week and later at night (when all the kiddos are asleep).

While the homes of Peacock Lane have taken down their lights for this season, be sure to add it to your Christmas to do list for next year!