The Oregon Zoo is the oldest zoo in North America west
of the Mississippi River, and has been growing in size
ever since its inception in 1887. The zoo is located in Portland, Oregon, and is one
of Portland's most trafficked attractions, drawing
more than 1.3 million animal lovers every year.
The Portland Oregon Zoo started with just a small collection of animals, which were donated by a local resident. The original Portland Zoo was housed in a vacant parking lot next to a pharmacy, and quickly outgrew this location. In 1925, the more than 300 animals that made up the Portland Zoo were moved to the current site of the Portland Japanese Garden. In 1959, the animals were again moved, this time for good, to the Portland Zoo's current location in the city of Portland.
The Portland Oregon Zoo has long been noted for the more humane exhibits used to house the animals in its keep. Almost all animal exhibits at the Oregon Zoo are meant to simulate the animals' natural habitat wherever possible. The Portland Oregon Zoo also continues a tradition of focusing on animal protection, with special emphasis on protecting endangered species.
Today, the Portland Zoo is home to more than 200 species, with thousands of different specimens. In particular, the Portland Oregon Zoo is famous for its collection of elephants, which is today the largest zoo collection in the world. The Oregon Zoo is one of the world's premier elephant breeding sites. In 1962, the Portland Oregon Zoo gained world-wide recognition when "Packy", and Asian elephant, was born at the zoo. Packy was the first elephant to be born in the Western Hemisphere for over 45 years, and is also one of the largest. Packy went on to sire 7 of the zoo's 27 elephant calves, making the Portland Zoo the most thriving elephant breeding site on the planet.
In addition to the popular elephant exhibit, there are
a number of other exhibits, including the Amazon Flooded
Forest with species from South
America, the Alaskan Tundra which features Grey wolves
and spotted owls, among other creatures, and the African
Savanna exhibit, which is home to Black Rhinos and Vultures,
to name just a few.
A special night exhibit is also a favorite. Special Oregon Zoo lights keep bats and other nocturnal creatures active during the day for viewing. These same Oregon Zoo lights simulate daylight during our sunset, so that the bats are able to sleep without the disturbance of onlookers. Along with the special Oregon Zoo lights, the zoo also features special summer concerts and other family and community activities. The birth of a new animal; particularly an endangered species, is always of public note and usually draws many visitors to the zoo.
If you plan to visit the zoo, the cost will be $9.50 per adult, with discounted prices offered for children under age 11. Children under 2 are always free. For a great deal, try heading to the zoo on the second Tuesday of the month; admission on these days is just $2. To reach the zoo via the MAX, take bus number 63. While you are there, you can also check the Portland Children's Museum, which is located within walking distance of the Oregon Zoo.