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Portland Oregon Zoo

The Portland Oregon Zoo has been delighting families for ages.  Would you believe that the seeds of our original zoo started from one man collecting animals and keeping them in the back of his drug store in Downtown Portland?   "Richard B. Knight, a druggist and owner of a drug store located at 270 Morrison Street, began collecting bears and other animals in 1887. Eventually, he donated them to the city.  The collection was moved to City Park (at the current water reservoir site in Washington Park) and Portland's first zoo was created. The Washington Park Zoo, as it was then called, celebrated its 100th birthday in 1987. From its humble beginnings in the back of a pharmacy in downtown Portland to its prominence as the leading paid attraction in the state of Oregon, the zoo has seen a multitude of changes." (From OregonZoo.org)  Obviously these days the focus of the zoo is on conservation and not merely keeping animals out of curiosity.  You can read the full history of the Oregon Zoo here.  

These days, the Oregon Zoo is one of the most popular zoos in the country and a favorite of locals and visitors alike.  Conveniently located in NW Portland, with easy access on the TriMet MAX light rail line.  Throughout the year, various activities such as Zoo Concerts and Zoo Lights are held to make the zoo attractive all year long.  Over a million people visit the zoo each year to view over 2000 different creatures.

 

Portland Oregon Zoo Visitors Information

Portland Oregon Zoo Hours:

April 15 - Sept. 15, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Grounds open till 7 p.m. 

Sept. 16 - April 14 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Grounds open till 5 p.m. 

The zoo is open every day except December 25.

Portland Oregon Zoo Admission Rates: 

Adults (12-64) $10.50 

Seniors (65 and over) $9.00

Children (3-11) $7.50 

Infants (2 and under) Free 

For special event rates, please call 503-226-1561.

Oregon Zoo Address: 

4001 SW Canyon Road Portland, Oregon 97221

Directions:

Take TriMet MAX Light Rail to the Washington Park Station.  Trains arrive every ten minutes.  If driving, take HWY 26 West of Downtown Portland Oregon.   The Portland Oregon zoo is located five minutes west of downtown Portland on Highway 26. Watch for the signs. The zoo is the first exit from this highway.

Oregon Zoo Train (From OregonZoo.org)

In addition to the zoo exhibits, another very popular attraction at the Zoo is the Washington Park Zoo railway, where visitors can enjoy a ride on a real steam powered or diesel train through Washington Park.

The Washington Park and Zoo Railway


Offers a scenic excursion aboard diesel or steam powered trains.

Travelers view lush scenery on a trip through the forests of Washington Park. At the Washington Park terminal, during the summer, take in the commanding view of downtown Portland, Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens, or take a walk through the world-famous International Rose Test Garden and the Japanese Garden. The ride concludes with a trip around the Zoo Loop.

The railway operates three trains which are approximately five-sixths the size of the old narrow-gauge trains. Two cars are equipped with wheelchair lifts. All trains feature covered, open-air cars.

The railway carries more than 350,000 passengers annually. It is the last railroad in the United States that has continually offered U.S. mail service. Letters deposited on the zoo railway receive a special hand-cancellation.

The railway, located five minutes from downtown Portland, operates daily, weather permitting, spring, summer and fall. It also runs evenings for Oregon Zoo Lights during  the month of December.

 

Portland Oregon Zoo Exhibits

From OregonZoo.org:

Red Ape Reserve - Visitors will have unprecedented opportunities to observe orangutans and white-cheeked gibbons, indoors and outdoors, exhibiting natural behaviors as they literally climb and swing over visitors' heads and come nose-to-nose with them at glass viewing windows.

AfriCafe and Howard Vollum Aviary  - Relax in the warm tropical aviary. Enjoy exotic birds in flight and up close. Grab a bite to eat or a drink in AfriCafe, overlooking the aviary.

Africa Rainforest Bats - and a variety of tropical birds and waterfowl live among lush vegetation. Tropical thunder, lightning and a torrential downpour keeps the humidity just right for endangered slender-snouted crocodiles, lung fish and frogs in the swamp area of the exhibit.

Africa Savanna - Visit the dry, open plains of East Africa, where giraffes, zebras, hippos and rhinos live along riverbanks and water holes. Be sure to check out the naked mole rats.

Fragile Forests: Amazon Flooded Forest and South American Forest - Dense rainforest canopy is home to toucans and saki monkeys. Turtles and caimans live in the floodwaters below. This exhibit places visitors within inches of a green anaconda.

As they leave the flooded forest, visitors enter the tropical and subtropical forests of southern Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, home to shy and illusive ocelots. The exhibit's rock ledges provide a perfect perching place for the cats to hang out.

Asian Elephants -  Meet Packy, Portland's star elephant, and his pals.

Bears - Travel beneath the ice floes to see polar bears basking on the shore or taking a dip in the cool waters. See sun bears basking lazily in trees.

Cats of the Amur Region - Tigers and leopards native to the Russian Far East inhabit this area of the zoo. These felines are as beautiful as they are endangered.

Entry Plaza - Step inside the gates of the Oregon Zoo for fun shopping and fine dining. The zoo's Cascade Outfitters gift shop offers animal-themed gifts for everyone on your list. Specialty sandwiches and salads are served daily in the Cascade Grill restaurant.

Great Northwest - The Great Northwest Exhibit includes:

Cascade Crest - This replica of an alpine area in the Cascade mountains features mountain goats and a simulated snow cave.

Cascade Canyon Trail - The trail includes:

Black Bear Ridge -  Black bears and bobcats await you in this exhibit.

Eagle Canyon - Eagle Canyon walks you through the habitat of the endangered bald eagles and coho salmon while stressing the importance of forest streams and rivers.

Cascade Stream and Pond - Peer into the beaver den and watch river otters frolic in a cool mountain stream.

Cougar Crossing - Come face to face with our cougars.

Trillium Creek Family Farm - Feel the wool on a Shetland lamb or brush a Pygora goat. This exhibit is run entirely by teen volunteers.

Elk Meadow - This predator/prey exhibit features Roosevelt elk and grey wolves separated by a fence. Watch them interact in close proximity as they would in the wild. Learn about them and their important links.

Steller Cove - Travel through underwater kelp forests and come nose-to-nose with sea otters and sea lions. Use the research station to learn more about the underwater habitat.

Gardens - Look for special plantings throughout the zoo.

Insect Zoo - This seasonal exhibit offers an up-close look at the world of bugs.

Island Pigs of Asia - Meet rare Visayan Warty pigs and Babirusa pigs.

Lilah Callen Holden Elephant Museum - Learn about Portland's successful Asian elephant breeding program and the role elephants play throughout the world.

Lorikeet Landing - Some of the world's most beautiful birds live in this walk-through, open-air aviary. Visitors may purchase small paper cups of "nectar" (actually fortified fruit juice) at the entrance to the aviary. The lorikeets fly down and drink from the cups, making this exhibit highly interactive. Please note that on busy days, the lorikeets may run through their daily allotment of juice before the exhibit closes, therefore the feeding opportunity is not guaranteed.

Penguins - Endangered Humboldt penguins can be seen both above and below the water in this exhibit, which replicates their native habitat. The penguins share their exhibit with a flock of Inca terns.

Predators of Serengeti - Experience nose-to-whisker views of lions, cheetahs, African wild dogs and more. See some of the world's most endangered carnivores in a setting reminiscent of the African plains.

Primates - Look high to see monkeys and mandrills swinging and resting. Identify chimps by face and discover who got caught "red-handed."

Warren J. Iliff Sculpture Garden - The sculpture garden is a way for children to experience animals in an environment that is not intimidating, and allows them to use their imaginations to develop their interest in the animal world.

 

Visit the Portland Oregon Zoo Website for additional helpful information.

In case you are visiting the Portland Oregon Zoo, here is the current local weather forecast:

Portland, Oregon, weather forecast

 

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