The Oregon Zoo, formerly the Washington Park Zoo, is a zoo in Portland, the largest city in the U.S. state of Oregon. Located 2 miles southwest of Downtown Portland, the zoo is inside Portland's Washington Park, and includes a narrow-gauge railway that connects to the International Rose Test Garden inside the park. Opened in 1887 after a private animal collector donated his animals to the City of Portland, the 64 acres zoo is now owned by the regional Metro government. A member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, it has successful breeding programs for California Condors and Asian elephants. The zoo also boasts an extensive plant collection throughout its animal exhibits and specialized gardens. During the summer it is host to a concert series, and in the winter produces a holiday light show viewed from the train. The Oregon Zoo is Oregon's largest paid attraction, with more than 1.6 million visitors in 2008 to 2009
The Great Northwest
Cascade Crest: Cascade Crest features Mountain goats in a beautiful exhibit with craggy basalt rocks and still waters of a cirque lake. These animals are exceptionally well adapted to their habitat with muscular bodies, thick wool to keep out cold winds, short sturdy legs and hooves with pads on the bottom for better traction on the rocks.
Black Bear Ridge: Opening Date: March 10, 2007|Cost: $2 million |Size: 14,000 sq. feet
An agile black bear makes his way up a steep slope; another bear basks lazily in the sun alongside a dry streambed. Nearby, a pair of bobcats naps in a hollow log. Black Bear Ridge allows visitors to experience these reclusive animals in their natural setting. Use your senses and learn how to spot signs of these animals in the wild. Also, discover how human encroachment is affecting their habitat and daily
Eagle Canyon: Opening date: May 29, 2004 | Cost: $2.4 million | Size: 20,800 sq. feet
As guests walk down a wooded path, you're drawn to the sounds of a gentle stream leading to a waterfall. Along the path, you see a Bald eagle gliding among the tall Douglas fir trees. Farther down the path, guests will enter a lava tube tunnel, and experience a unique view swimming schools of Coho salmon near the stream bottom. Eagle Canyon provides a perfect look into a typical northwest watershed, offering both sky high and under water perspectives.
Cascade Sream and Pond: It opened on July 1, 1982, the cost $1.3 million and the size is 4,500 square feet.
Following the salmon from Eagle Canyon, you are led into the Cascade Stream and Pond, a marshy habitat for native Northwest animals. Walking through the building and inside the marsh aviary, you discover the animals that inhabit the marshy areas of the cascades, from the rare western pond turtle to the impressive American beaver. Also see playful river otter frolics, showing off for zoo visitors. Along with the beaver and otter, there are reptiles and amphibians. Western pond turtles sometimes make their homes here, waiting until they are ready to be released into the wild.
Trillium Creek Family Farm: Opening Date: July 10, 2004 | Cost: $1 million | Size: 18,000 square feet
Visitors can learn about unusual farm animals, like the Pygora goat, a breed developed in Oregon, which is a cross between a pygmy and an angora goat. Dexter cows living at the farm are among the smallest cattle breeds in the world standing 40 inches tall and weighing only 700 to 900 pounds. Rare Guinea hogs have joined the other breeds at the Oregon Zoo's family farm. Guinea hogs are listed as critical by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, with fewer than 200 found in North America. Also making their home on the farm are Nankin bantam chickens, Araucana chickens and Runner ducks, which can be seen in an open pen outside the main barn. During the summer, visitors can get close to some smaller animals such as domestic rabbits, snakes and chickens, which are all part of the zoo's Education animal collection.
Cougar Crossing: Opening Date: August 5, 2006 | Cost: $685,000 | Size: 4,260 sq. feet
Cougar crossing is home to three cougars, Chinook, Paiute and their offspring, Palus.
Chinook, a female, was found in late January 2006, underweight and scavenging for food in Sequim, Wash. Authorities at Washington State Game believe she was the cub of a cougar hit by a car in December 2005. She was held at the Northwest Raptor Center in Sequim until she was moved to the zoo in late April 2006.
Paiute, a male, came to the zoo in 2010. He had been orphaned as a cub and was found by Idaho Fish and Game agents, who contacted Michelle Schireman at the Oregon Zoo for help in placing him. Keepers took their time introducing Paiute and Chinook, who began sharing an exhibit space in June 2010.
In September 2010, Chinook gave birth to a female cub, Palus (pronounced "Pa-LOOS"), named after the Palus tribe of Washington state, now part of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. "Historically, the Chinook people lived in coastal regions, while the Paiute people lived farther east, Schireman noted. "The Palus were between these groups, just as our cub, if you will, is between her parents, Chinook and Paiute."
Elk Meadow: Opening Date: July 1, 1993 | Size: 1.9 acres | Wolves added: November 2007
Named after President Theodore Roosevelt, a man instrumental in saving them, the proud Roosevelt elk wander the meadow. You may see a male sporting an impressive rack of antlers, which falls off in March and is regrown each year. Gray wolves, once an important character in the Great Northwest ecosystem, have virtually vanished in this region. They have returned in places such as Montana and Idaho, and will most likely be back in Oregon in the near future. PACIFIC SHORES
Steller Cove: At 10 to 12 feet long, Steller sea lions are one of the largest members of the pinniped family, with males weighing up to 3,000 pounds. See how at home these large, yet graceful mammals are in the waters of Steller Cove. The exhibit is home to two males, named Augustus (Gus) and Julius. Gus and Julius were born at two different Sea World Parks in 1987, and came to the zoo from Connecticut's Mystic Aquarium. They are each fed between 25 and 35 pounds of fish a day, depending on the time of year.
Everyone loves sea otters, and Steller Cove is the best place to watch them play. These are southern sea otters, whose habitat once spanned the entire California and Oregon coastlines, but is now limited to central California. Thelma and Eddie were both found abandoned as pups in 1998. They were raised in the Monterey Bay Aquarium with the intention of release into the wild, but they were not able to develop the necessary survival skills. Thelma and Eddie were brought to the Oregon Zoo on June 2, 2000.
View a kelp forest with sea stars, urchins, crabs, anemones, sea cucumbers, rockfish, surf perch and cabezon. Sea otters have been known to make appearances in the background.
Explore a tide pool that includes sea urchins, anemones, crabs, sea stars, sculpins, gobies, painted greenlings and gunnels.
Bears: Watch Conrad and Tasul the Polar bears swim underwater in a simulated arctic exhibit. Then travel to the tropics on the other side of the Pacific Ocean to see a smaller bear that likes to spend time in the trees. Guests will also see Vivian and Jody the Malayan Sun bears.
Penguins: The Penguinarium is closed until next spring so we can install a new water-filtration system. The penguins can be viewed in the winter pool of the polar bear exhibit. Inca terns will not be on exhibit during the installation. The new filtration system should reduce water usage at the penguin exhibit by 80 percent, saving millions of gallons every year. Funds for this water-saving project were provided by the $125 million zoo bond measure passed by voters in 2008. 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.
Insect Zoo: The Insect Zoo is a dynamic exhibit that is always bringing in different bugs to showcase. Here are some of the incredible creatures that you might see at this exhibit. See bugs like the, Emperor Scorpion, Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, Giant African Millipede, Australian Walking Sticks, and the Mexican Red Kneed Tarantula. In front of the Insect Zoo, the Oregon Zoo has planted a garden filled with native, drought-tolerant plants attract local wildlife, butterflies and other insects. Insects are important to the health of our environment. We can help support them by planting a variety native plants in our garden that bloom from spring to fall.
Lorikeet Landing: Some of the world's most beautiful parrots are on exhibit in the Oregon Zoo's Lorikeet Landing—and visitors can have them eating right out of their hand. The brightly-colored and noisy birds, called lories, are housed in a walk-through, open-air aviary just south of the Insect Zoo. The zoo's Living Collection management emphasizes that the small parrots are very sociable and enjoy being around people. They refer to them as "natural clowns" and indicate that the aviary is "a high public contact area." Lories are visitor favorites because they are quite acrobatic, very vocal and always inquisitive about people. Visitors are able to purchase* small paper cups of "nectar" (actually fortified fruit juice) at the aviary entrance. Then, as they walk through it, the parrots fly down and actually drink from the cups. The L-shaped aviary measures 75 feet and 50 feet on the sides and is framed by 20-foot-tall fiberglass posts, draped with wire mesh to form the walls and roof. Its winding path passes a small waterfall, a small pool, several trees and vegetation. See Edward's, Green-Naped, Swainson's, Ornate, Weber's, Perfect, and Rosenberg's Lorikeets. There are also Duyvenbode's and Blue-Streaked Lories.
Cats of the Amur Region: Both Amur Tigers and Amur Leopards live in the Russian Far East. Portland's Russian sister city, Khabarovsk, is in this region, and tigers have been known to walk
into the town! The leopards live further south. The region is named for the Amur River, which
forms the border between Russia and China.
Amazon Flooded Forest: Each year, torrential rains flood the Amazon basin, transforming it into a watery world, known as the varzea, for nearly six months. The varzea is home to some of the planet’s most extraordinary and diverse plants and animals. The plants, animals and people there actually thrive when the river is at flood stage. With your first step into this zoo's exhibit, you will be engulfed in a world inhabited by Emerald Tree boas and colorful Yellow banded and Blue poison dart frogs. Around the corner guests will encounter Pygmy marmosets, Swainson's toucans, Green iguanas and rare species of fish like the Cardinal Tetra, Pacu, Raphael Catfish, Heckle Discus, and the Orange Spot Freshwater Stingray some of which are seven feet long. Just a few steps away under the forest’s canopy guests will see Pale Faced Saki and Black howler monkeys, fearsome-looking Dwarf caiman and the Hoffman's two-toed sloth. The best has been saved for last, when you'll come eye to eye with the legendary Green anaconda, which can grow up to 30 feet in length, making it the world’s largest snake, the longest snake is the Reticulated python. There are also Arrau turtle in this exhibit.
South American Forest: The exhibit, which opened August 2006, is a component of the Fragile Forests complex, a multi-phase renovation of the Primate Building, which began with the Amazon Flooded Forest. The exhibit replicates a lush South American rainforest with real and artificial plants, vines, logs and roots, and includes a waterfall and small pond. Artificial rocks with ledges provide a lounging place for the Ocelots which live in the exhibit. The visitors' side has a spongy faux-forest-floor treatment, with natural leaves embedded in the terrain, and features a wall of glass for viewing the cats. Ralph and Alice were born in 1993 at zoos located in São Paulo, Brazil, and were transferred to the Phoenix Zoo in 1996, where they produced three offspring. The pair arrived at the Oregon Zoo on April 12, 2006. Their son, Rio, was born on Sept. 14, 2006.
Primates: Though it is one of our oldest exhibits, this area is a favorite of visitors because of the antics of its residents. Because of the zoo's participation in national Species Survival Plans and international breeding programs for these endangered animals, many babies are born at the zoo. A long-term study on chimpanzee development has been conducted since 1981. The exhibits are chimp island, lemur island, orangutan exhibit, outside exhibits for mandrills, siamangs, gibbons, tamarins outside exhibit not visible to public, and large holding areas for each species. See White-cheeked gibbons, Mandrills, Chimpanzees, and Red-handed tamarins.
Red Ape Reserve: Feel like guests are walking through the fragile Southeast Asian habitats wild Sumatran orangutans and White-cheeked gibbons call home, and take the opportunity to learn about orangutan conservation. Come nose-to-nose at windows made of thick, orangutan-proof laminated glass and get a close look at how amazing these animals are. With two heated viewing areas, including one under cover, orangutans are provided with an all-weather space inviting them close to visitors. The mesh-enclosed outdoor portion of the exhibit occupies 5,400 square feet. This space provides the orangutans their first opportunity to experience natural substrates, foliage, water features and weather. Sway poles, vines and trees enable the orangutans and gibbons to swing through their arboreal habitat. Another highlight of the outdoor space is the signature "enrichment tree." Designed to resemble a massive buttress tree overtaken by a strangler fig, this feature is intended to keep the animals alert, engaged and mentally challenged in their new home. The hollow tree's inside is accessible to keepers via an underground tunnel, and features a multitude of holes through which they can place treats, branches, puzzle-feeders and other enrichment devices. Outside the tree, the primates can wander around, searching for food and stimulation, just as they would in the wild.
Island Pigs of Asia: Meet rare Visayan Warty pigs and Babirusa pigs.
Asian Elephants: The zoo’s two Indian elephant yards provide a combined total of more than 34,000 square feet. The elephants spend more than 20 hours a day outside, so it is important that they have outdoor space to meet their needs. Both yards are visible to the public. Meet Packy, Portland's star elephant, Rama, Portland's biggest artist, baby Sam, born in 2008 and their pals.
Predators of Serengeti: African lions rest on warm rocks and prowl through open grassland. A Cheetah drinks from a waterfall-fed pool, then lies down for a nap on the warm metal hood of a safari vehicle. Meanwhile, a pack of African wild dogs frolics in the grassland, their growls loud above the sound of a rippling stream. The Oregon Zoo's Predators of the Serengeti exhibit features nose-to-whisker views and expansive naturalistic environments for some of Africa's most endangered carnivores. Caracals, Red-billed hornbills, Dwarf mongoose, and the African rock python is in this area
Howard Vollum Aviary: The Howard Vollum Aviary is landscaped with trees, shrubs and plants similar to the vegetation found along the streams and rivers of the bush country of Africa. The aviary is as much a source of pride to the zoo's horticulturists as it is to the zookeepers, for it is considered Portland's first plant conservatory. See like Cape-thick knees, Hamerkop, Buffalo weaver, and Red-crested turacos play in the trees.
Africa Savanna: Opened on April 29, 1989, the exhibit replicates the dry, open plains of East Africa. Familiar African animals such as Reticulated giraffes, Damara zebras, Hippos and Eastern Black rhinos live along riverbanks and water holes. DeBrazza's monkeys and colorful African birds. Visitors walk through a large glass-enclosed aviary, down a safari path and up onto an overlook where they can gaze out over the savanna. See also Marabou storks, Naked mole rats, Slender-tailed meerkats, Mole snakes and Hingebacked tortoises.
Africa Rainforest: Completed in 1991, Rodrigues Flying Foxes, Big Fruit Bats, Egyptian Fruit Bats, and Straw-colored Fruit bats and a variety of tropical birds and waterfowl like the African White spoonbill, Cape Thick Knee Birds, Hadada Ibis, and the Saddle-billed storks live in this tangle of lush vegetation.
In the Bamba du Jon Swamp building, visitors experience tropical thunder, lightening and a torrential downpour that passes over endangered African slender-snouted crocodiles, African lung fish, Tilapia, Cichlids, and Bull and Golden Mantella frogs.