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Walk into a winter wonderland at the Oregon Zoo starting Friday November 23rd. More than a million lights will illuminate the zoo in the annual Portland tradition known affectionately as ZooLights. Formerly known as the Washington Park Zoo, in honor of the park’s location, the facility opened in 1888.. Located just two miles southwest of downtown Portland on the Sunset Highway (US Route 26), it is the oldest zoological park west of the Mississippi. What started with one brown bear and one grizzly bear has grown into a collection of over 2,200 animals representing over 260 species. Major Portland Zoo exhibits include the Africa Rainforest, covering 1.3 acres of the park, Africa Savanna, Predators of the Serengeti, Amazon Flooded Forest, Dinosaurs, and Asian Elephants. There is also an area dedicated to the surrounding Pacific Northwest, highlighting several of the area's native species.
Zoo Lights runs Sunday through Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. On Friday and Saturday it goes until 8:30 p.m. Visitors will be permitted to stay until one hour after the gates close. The last day for ZooLights is Sunday December 30th. In addition to the beautiful lights and displays, local musicians and dancers will perform throughout the park. Hot drinks and snacks will also be available, and there will be several opportunities for souvenir photos. Additionally, the zoo’s narrow-gauge railroad, which connects to the International Rose Test Garden, will also be fully lit up. For more information, visit the zoo’s website at oregonzoo.org, or call 503-226-1561