Zoo Lights!

We decided this year on my side of the family, that we wouldn't give presents but instead would all give "an experience" instead.

We went and saw Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo and it was so much fun!

We had the best time!

The Oregon Zoo is about 45 minutes from my mom's house, so we all gathered there in the early afternoon and carpooled in.  We rode the Max train to the Zoo, and once you got off the train and up the elevator, it was literally just crossing a street at you were at the zoo's entrance - so handy!

The zoo was DECKED OUT with lights, and light sculptures.  There was so much to see, and they even had some of the exhibits still open.  We got to watch the seals & sea otters play, check out the big mountain goats and see the elephants inside their indoor enclosure.  After dinner, there was a "snowball fight" where Santa's helpers passed out woolen snow balls for kids to "fight" with and Chandler thought that was so fun.

My brother got some great pictures with his Sony mirrorless camera - it took great pictures in the dark!  The pictures below are ones he took - they were texted to me, so they're small in size but the original file looked great!

A few tips that we knew going in (Lindsay & Henry had been before) or learned from friends:

1. Ride the Max in.  Lindsay actually tried to park first, and the lots were full already at 5:00 pm.  We rode the Max, and it's another $5/person but was so easy & quick, and Chandler loved riding the "Choo

2. Buy your tickets online. We did this, both to get in & for the train and got to skip the lines.  You miss out on saving the $5 discount for riding the Max, but to me it was worth it to just be able to walk right on in.

3. It's stroller friendly - I loved this!  Chandler ran most of the time - I'd never wished for a backpack leash more than I did that night, lol - but Cal rode in the stroller, and it gave us a place to put extra blankets, diapers, wipes, bottles, etc so I didn't have to lug a big diaper bag around.

4. Eat dinner there.  We had a 5:30 pm train ride, and so we took the "fast path" to the train, and then went back thru the Zoo lights path and grabbed dinner.  Clint & I ate from the food carts, but we took it inside the grill area so we could eat where it was warm.  It wasn't as expensive as I had thought it would be, my Korean rice bowl was delicious and Clint enjoyed his clam chowder.  We got Chandler a grilled cheese that took a sweet forever for them to make, but he ate the entire thing so it was worth the wait.  :)  They also had a wood fired pizza cart, and elephant ear cart in addition to the seafood & Korean carts and the indoor grill that served burgers, hot dogs, chicken strips, etc.

5.  Plan to be there for a few hours.  We got there a little after 5:00 pm and didn't leave until close to 8:30.  We could have seen more, but the kids were done at that point and we'd seen more than enough.

6. Spend the extra $4 and ride the train.  This was so fun, and the seats were very comfortable!

7. Dress warm!  We got lucky and it wasn't raining, but it was chilly.  We were comfortable in normal clothes, a warm jacket and hats for the boys.  I had mittens that only Cal would keep on and we brought extra blankets for when the boys were in the stroller.
I loved this new tradition we started with our family, and can't wait to go again!


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