From the Blog

Animal and Lights at Zoolights

We went to the Zoo yesterday for a media appreciation event. Dave Knows is The Media. I get the benefits of being married to The Media. It’s a bit of a strange experience being treated for things as c-level bloggers important members of the local media. However, I do like how they gave me a tiara to wear.

I have been living in Portland for almost three years, but I hadn’t yet been to see Zoolights for the holidays. Which is odd, because I’m a total dork for holiday lights, and I really like animals.

We arrived around 3:30 on Saturday, and we were lucky that there was still room in the parking lot. After it got dark and we were leaving a few hours later, the parking lot had become a shark tank of stalking cars, waiting for spaces to open up. If you are going to go to the Zoo for Zoolights, go early while it’s still light so you can easily park, get yourself a foo-foo espresso drink, and go see some animals while waiting for the train rides to start. That’s what we did, and we are smart, and you should listen to us. Didn’t I tell you about the tiara?

If you remember, Saturday was an incredibly blustery day here in Portland, Oregon. I dressed in three layers, with a hat and scarf, and some knit gloves that I happened to have in the car, but this proved to not really be enough for an extended time strolling around the zoo. Some of the animals proved to be chilly as well.

I like chirpy birds. These are Lorikeets and they were chirpy and flappy and chilly in the cold breezy weather. We opted not to buy food for the birds, because while I grew up with parrots, I imagine being covered with squawky birds would be one of the deep circles of hell for Dave.

Make no mistake, I could sit for hours in the Lorikeet enclosure saying “Pretty bird! Pretty bird! Pretty bird!” until security came. But there were other animals to go see. Like elephants!

He’s got nicer fingernails than I do.

And this little diggy guy below, who was digging too quickly in the dim light for our camera to keep up. But he was cute and very busy digging.

And then we saw tigers! And I know there are tigers out there in the world, but I sort of forget that they are real creatures because I only ever see them on a screen, or frozen on a printed page. One of the tigers was just pacing, pacing, pacing around their enclosure, and its fascinating to me that regardless of size, felines have similar mannerisms from my silly little house cat, up to these big beasts.

Seeing them in person shaves about thirty years off my age. And though there is a fence, and my adult faculties were firmly in charge, in my brain I was thinking “Kitty! I want to pet the kitty!

We saw some monkeys and some other exhibits we did not see the last time we went to the zoo, about a year ago. Animals are healthy and well cared for in captivity, but of course they are bored. They pace with no place new to go, or they sleep, or they sit and stare vacantly. The similarities of these bored animals, and being a modern office worker were not lost on me. They were just punching the clock and working for the weekend. Am I projecting? No. My boss reads this blog.

We shivered and meandered over to get in line for the train. There were hundreds of people waiting. We noticed as it got darker, the zoo filled with people. But the trains held an amazing amount of people, and by the time we went for our ride, it was completely dark.

Pretty lights!

After a couple hours outside, I was doing everything I could to operate the camera without having to take my gloves off. Dave took a bunch of photos also. Our new camera is much better at taking dim light photos than our old camera. These are all taken by hand, without any stabilization. Not bad for a point and shoot.

It was still getting busier and filled with more and more people. Lots of kids. And though is there were a lot of people, it was not unpleasant. I saw a dad sort of aimlessly walking around, taking video, and humming a Christmas tune as he passed. Ah, memories.

We started heading towards the exit. Which is no small feat in the dark, especially since this was only my second trip to the zoo. And for Dave, it’s completely different from when he was a kid.

This was a lovely way to spend a weekend evening. If you go, go early. Bundle up. Get a coffee. Walk around before dark. Ride the train. It was much better than shopping and fighting holiday crowds. Buy less stuff and go see the animals and the pretty lights.

Dave and I joked that with all the family friendly stuff we do together, we may be bored with it by the time we have kids. “The Zoo? No, Junior, there are animals you can look at on the internet. Now run along and get daddy a beer.”

Nah. We’ll never get tired of this stuff.


  1. i got to pet a cougar once. it was righteous.

  2. Les monstres really really want to go! Even more so, now that they’ve seen your pictures!

  3. Preeeetttttttyyyyyyy!!! I can’t wait until we go to our “Sleepy Hollow” light festival down the street. This one was similar to one we saw in Okinawa at a Botanical Garden, lots of lit up animals and colors.

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