"December 2004 Zoo Lights: More Photos" Top 5 Page for this destination Portland Travelogue by glabah

Portland Travel Guide: 1,441 reviews and 2,974 photos

There were a number of photos taken during my December 2004 visit to the ZooLights. Some of those photos were put on the ZooLights tip I wrote back in 2004. Some of the rest I have put here.

Many of these light displays are animated in some way or another. Most of the time this is simply a series of lights that turn on and off to produce the effect of motion. Apes climb walls, and elephants play pianos.

During zoo lights, there are many sections of the zoo that are not open to the public. It is only a limited part of the zoo that features these decorations.

An umbrella is definitely a help here if you a trying to take photos in the rain (yes, people show up for this light display and walk through the zoo, even in a very cold December rain). Notice the rain marks on my camera lens in many of the photos!


Art Displays and Music:

Check the zoolights calendar on the zoo's web site or published in the newspaper. Certain days will feature certain live music by local (or sometimes not so local) groups and individuals, and there is usually a section of one of the indoor areas for artists to sell their Christmas (or other holiday) decorations and artwork.

The light displays are, of course, quite elaborate in order to attract after-hours visitors and pay the entrance fee. To appeal to children, some of the displays have fairy-tale characters or features.

Some of the animal displays don't even feature animals that the zoo has. For example: the fish featured in this display are not part of the zoo's collection.

Of course, the zoo doesn't have an elephant the plays the piano either (see first photo).

This was one of the more humorous displays, and it is a shame that it is only a still photo rather than an animation. It is a popular one with the kids and therefore will probably be repeated again in future years, so I won't ruin it for you too much. The basic idea is that the animals decorate a Christmas Tree.

Some of the animals and other decorations are richly detailed sculptures that look good in the light as well as the dark when the lights are on. Remember: the zoo is also open during its regular hours, so it can't have all this ugly looking stuff sitting around during the day. The decorations have to look good both under full daylight and when lit up at night.

The sheer size and elaborate nature of the light displays are quite impressive. Sometimes these animated light displays arch over the walkways to add to the lighting on the walking routes through the zoo.

So, what sort of Christmas light display also includes flying dragons overhead and giant spiders?

Well, when the Christmas light display is located at the zoo, just about anything is possible.

The trees at the zoo, which in summer add to the shade and create an attractive atmosphere but are very bare in winter, also get a Total Light Job. This creates a very creative method of lighting the walkways.

Yes, you will notice the water spots from the rain on the camera lens. Yes, you will notice that everyone is dressed for the rain. Yes, people still come in large crowds even though it is cold and raining.

  • Page Updated May 9, 2016
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