The Oregon Zoo is a 64-acre (26 ha) zoo in Portland, Oregon. It is also known as the Washington Park Zoo because it is located in Portland’s Washington Park.
About two miles southwest of downtown Portland, the Oregon Zoo is nestled in the green space of Washington Park. The park is home to the Washington Park and Zoo Railway, which connects Washington Park’s Rose Test Garden and the Oregon Zoo.
It is one of the most popular attractions in Oregon. The Oregon Zoo in Portland was opened in 1888 after a private animal collector donated his animals to the city of Portland. In addition to the many animals, the zoo now offers an extensive collection of plants. During the summer months, the Oregon Zoo hosts a series of concerts.
During the winter months, the entire zoo is decked out in colorful lights, also known as the Holiday Light Show. There are also successful breeding programs for endangered and threatened species. This includes protecting endangered California condors, Asian elephants and African lions.
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History of the Oregon Zoo in Portland
The Oregon Zoo in Portland was founded in 1888, making it the oldest zoo in North America west of the Mississippi River. The first animals at the zoo were two bears, a brown bear and a grizzly. Because of its location in Washington Park, it was sometimes referred to as the Washington Park Zoo. Over time, more and more animals were added and the zoo grew. Already in 1894 there were more than 300 animals. In 1925 the zoo moved to the place where the Japanese Garden is now located. But in 1959, the Portland Zoo moved again to its current location on the southern edge of Washington Park. During the zoo’s move, the Zoo Railway was built, which opened at the same time as the zoo opened at the new location. At the time the zoo was called the Portland Zoological Gardens and was commonly known as the Portland Zoo known.
The zoo became really popular when it acquired Rosy, an Asian elephant, in 1953 and the baby Asian elephant Packy was born in 1962. A total of 28 other elephants have been born at the Oregon Zoo over the years, making it the most successful elephant breeding zoo in the world.
Until 1971, the zoo was operated by the Portland Zoological Society on behalf of the city. The Portland Zoo has been operated by the Metropolitan Service District since 1976. In April 1998, the Washington Park Zoo was renamed the Oregon Zoo.
In 2003, Oregon Zoo began participating in the California condor recovery program started by San Diego Wild Animal Park and Los Angeles Zoo. The program was designed to breed and release California condors into the wild.
In November 2008, measures to improve infrastructure, improve older exhibits and access to education on nature conservation were approved.
Exhibits & areas at the Oregon Zoo
There are many different areas in the Orgeon Zoo, we have put together a few for you here:
Africa Rainforest opened in 1991 on 1.3 hectares. Bats and tropical birds live high in the treetops here, while crocodiles frolic in the water below. In addition to the animals, the exhibition includes artworks and the Congo Ranger Station and a safari expedition.
The Africa Savanna exhibition opened in April 1989 and is 4 hectares in size. This exhibit includes animals from East Africa, aviaries and areas for large mammals. Giraffe, hippopotamus and rhino graze along the riverbanks and waterholes here.
Predators of the Serengeti
Predators of the Serengeti opened in September 2009 and covers 2.5 hectares. Animals such as lion, cheetah, wild dog, caracal, scorpion, pygmy mongoose and African rock python live here.
Amazon Flooded Forest
This exhibition opened in 2001 and shows the Amazon Basin during seasonal flooding. Here you will find animals such as turtles, anacondas, ocelots perched on ledges, toucans and howler monkeys live in the treetops.
Asian Elephants – Elephant Lands
The exhibition is currently 1.5 hectares in size but is set to expand to 6 hectares by autumn 2015. Four female (Sung-Surin, Rose-Tu, Chendra and Lily) and four male (Packy, Rama, Tusko and Samudra) Asian elephants live here. The elephants have access to a variety of terrain with meadows, forests and mud to roll around.
There are eight bears: two polar bears, two Malaysian sun bears and four black bears in three bear exhibits. The exhibition opened in 1986 and has two pools. A 100-foot suspension bridge takes visitors to Black Bear Ridge, where bears and bobcats live.
This exhibit covers the wildlife from the western portions of the Pacific Northwest and has eight areas:. Black Bear Ridge, Eagle Canyon, Cascade Stream and Pond, Cougar Crossing, Cascade Crest, Trillium Creek Family Farm and Steller Cove.
Cascade Canyon Trail connects each of the exhibits except Steller Cove. A suspension bridge that offers views of Black Bear Ridge is part of the Cascade Canyon Trail. Eagle Canyon is home to two bald eagles, coho salmon and sturgeon in the creek. Cougar Crossing features two cougars.
The Trillium Creek Family Farm offers visitors close proximity to goats and chickens. Young people can get practical experience in farming and caring for animals. Steller Cove replicates the Pacific Ocean off the Oregon coast with its tide pools, kelp forests and residents.
Condors of the Columbia
Visitors can see three colorful California condors up close. These endangered animals are bred here and released into the wild.
Here you will find native Humboldt penguins from the coasts of Peru and Chile. They swim and dive in the currents and waves. You can be seen below the waterline and on land.
The Insect Zoo offers an up-close look at cockroaches, giant African centipedes, Mexican tarantulas and other exciting arthropods.
The Amur leopards and tigers are native to the Amur region, the border between Russia and southeast-northeast China. Amur tigers are the largest living cats on earth.
Chimpanzees, orangutans, white-cheeked gibbons, mandrills, green iguanas, desert iguanas, tree shrews, pythons, lemurs and many other animals live here. A complex of indoor and outdoor habitats consisting of West African forest and savanna provide a habitat for the animals.
Opening hours & admission prices at the Portland Zoo
The Oregon Zoo is open every day except December 25th. It can be visited from 9 a.m. all year round. Closing times vary depending on the season.
Admission prices to the zoo are for adults (12 to 64): $11.50; for seniors (65+): $10 and for children (3-11): $8.50 (as of 2015).
Attractions near the Oregon Zoo
Washington Park near the Oregon Zoo is home to other attractions such as the Portland Children’s Museum, World Forestry Center, Oregon Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Hoyt Arboretum. An adjacent network of trails connects the zoo to the International Rose Test Garden, Portland Japanese Garden and Forest Park.
Address of the Oregon Zoo in Portland.
4001 SW Canyon Road
Portland, OR 97221