Kristen, our beautiful, fun, energetic "friend with the extra sparkle", happens to live in Portland, so she met up with us to see the lights too. It's probably a toss up for who loves her more, me or the boys, because they love Kristen! She is always, always up for playing with them and going along with their silly games! In the boys' world? That's instant love!
Another one always up for silly games with the boys? Poppi! You're all shocked by that fact, I'm sure.
Christi, baby Elsie and Ty Ty
Burke, baby Emmie (in her cocoon) and Jenn
The whole lot of us!
Cute Auntie Kell Kell
The zoo has two or three trains that run the property. Two of them were steam engines, but this is the only one I caught a picture of. Most years you can take a train ride to see the lights, but they were shut down for construction this year.
The boys roped everyone into a 3-D adventure ride while we waited for it to get dark enough to see the lights.
The lights are turned on gradually over that first Dusk half hour when you can get in to see Zoo Lights. They almost went unnoticed as they turned on and we looked at animals because it felt like we suddenly looked up and were in a totally new zoo!
I was surprised at the details! This was a "photo" wall all done in lights.
All the trees had each individual branch wrapped in lights. There had to have been hours upon hours that went into getting the zoo ready for all of this!
These are hard to see, but each of those lights is an animal next to a river. There was a crocodile, a flamingo, bears, etc.
And at the very end, you walked towards the exit through a long, winding light tunnel!
It was well worth the drive as the lights were amazing, but I would definitely recommend going early! By the time we left, the line of people at the gates to get in, and the line of cars through the parking lots and on both sides of the freeway off ramps were insane (think cars stopped and waiting on the freeway for a good mile or two ahead of the off ramp!). In the time we were at the zoo though, it really didn't feel crowded until the very end of our visit, and by that point, we were fighting crowds only to be able to leave (completely bearable in my book).