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 (3.2 km) 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 1888 after a private animal collector donated his animals to the City of Portland, the 64-acre (26 ha) 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 ZooLights, a holiday light show. The Oregon Zoo is Oregon's largest paid attraction, with more than 1.6 million visitors in 2008 to 2009.
The Oregon Zoo was founded in 1888, making it the oldest North American zoo west of the Mississippi. It all began with two bears purchased by Richard Knight, one brown bear and one grizzly. A former seaman turned pharmacist, Knight began collecting animals from his seafaring friends. He kept his collection in the back of his drug store on Third & Morrison streets. When caring for the animals became too large a responsibility he sought to sell them to the city of Portland. Instead of buying the animals, the city offered to give Knight two circus cages and allowed him to place the caged bears on the grounds of City Park (now called Washington Park).
Care and feeding of the bears, however, still fell to the Knight family and friends. It wasn't long before Knight addressed the city council again regarding the bears. Just five months later, he offered to donate the bears, along with their cages, to the city. Portland City Council accepted his offer on November 7, 1888, and thus began the Portland Zoo. Located in Washington Park, it was sometimes referred to as the Washington Park Zoo.
Africa Rainforest: Opened in 1991, the Africa Rainforest exhibit covers 1.3 acres (5,300 m2) and was built at a cost of $4.3 million. In addition to animals, the exhibit includes artwork and the Kongo Ranger Station, a mock up of a safari expedition. Animals in the exhibit include Rodriguez Fruit Bats, Straw-Colored Fruit Bats, Egyptian Fruit Bats, King Colobus Monkey, Allen's Swamp Monkey, Red Flanked Duiker, Hadada Ibis, Saddle-billed Stork, White-Faced Whistling Ducks, Slender-snouted Crocodile, Nile Monitor Lizard, Lungfish, Cichlids, Lesser Flamingos and Hooded Vultures.
Africa Savanna: The Africa Savanna exhibit opened in April 1989 and is 4 acres (16,000 m2) in size. This exhibit includes animals typical of East Africa and includes an aviary and areas for large mammals. These include Black Rhinoceros, De Brazza's Monkey, Hippopotamus, Naked Mole-Rat, Reticulated Giraffe, Gerenuk, Egyptian Spiny Mouse, Damara Zebra, Speke's Gazelle, Southern Ground Hornbill, Weaver Birds, Marabou Storks, Cape Thick-Knee, Red-crested Turaco, Hamerkop, Buffalo Weaver, Hingeback Tortoises, Meerkat, and Spiny-Tailed Lizards.
Predators of the Serengeti: Predators of the Serengeti, which opened in September 2009, covers 2.5-acre (10,000 m2) and cost $6.8 million to build. It is located on the site of the former Alaska Tundra exhibit, with some of the animals from the Alaska exhibit moved to other locations inside the zoo, such as the wolf exhibit. Animals in the Serengeti exhibit include Lions, Cheetahs, African Wild Dogs, Caracals, Scorpions, Dwarf mongoose, red-billed hornbill, and African Rock Python. The zoo previously had lions, but closed the exhibit in 1998 and converted the area into Steller Cove. The three new lions come from zoos in California, Virginia and Wisconsin. On September 4, 2013, it was announced that five-year-old Neka, one of the zoo's two female lions, was pregnant and would likely soon give birth.
Amazon Flooded Forest: This exhibit opened in September, 2001. It simulates the Amazonian basin during its seasonal floods. Visitors can view the flooded environment from either above or below the water. Animals in the exhibit include Pygmy Marmoset, Ocelot, Agouti, Black Howler Monkey, Pale-Faced Saki Monkey, Brazilian Cockroach, Arrau Turtle, Red-handed Tamarin, Blue Poison Dart Frog, Dwarf Caiman, Emerald Tree Boa, Yellow-banded Poison Dart, Cardinal Tetra, Heckel Discus, Orange Spot, Pacu, Arawana, Plecostomus, Green Anacondas, and Green and Black Poison Dart Frog
Asian Elephants: Four female (Sung-Surin "Shine", Rose-Tu, Chendra, and Lily) and four male (Packy, Rama, Tusko, Samudra "Sam") Asian elephants are displayed at the popular elephant exhibit. All were born at the zoo, except Chendra and Tusko, who were born in the wild. Chendra is the only Borneo Elephant in the United States. The exhibit is currently 1.5 acres (6,100 m2), but there are plans to expand it to 6 acres (24,000 m2) under the 2008 bond measure. On November 30, 2012, at 2:17 a.m., Rose-Tu and Tusko (who are also the parents of Samudra) had a female calf Lily, weighing about 300 lbs(136 kg) at birth. There is a swimming hole in which up to ten elephants can simultaneously completely submerge, Sandy ground for comfortable walking and a scratching station, which the elephants often choose to scratch their head, sides, belly, etc.
Bears: There are eight bears in three separate bear exhibits. Two Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus) are located in an exhibit that is designed to mimic the area near Hudson Bay in Canada. One female, Tasul, and her brother named Conrad, are easily viewed. The exhibit previously had another female, Yugyan, but she was euthanized in August 2008 due to kidney failure. The exhibit opened in 1986 and has two pools of water for the animals, one for winter and one for summer. There are two Malaysian sun bears (Helarctos malayanus) in a tropical forest environment simulated in part with heat producing artificial trees. Both bears are females, named Vivian and Jody. The Great Northwest exhibit's Black Bear Ridge has four black bears added in April 2010 after the previous three had been euthanized for health reasons.
Dinosaurs: This exhibit has animatronic dinosaurs meant to replicate the dinosaurs from the prehistoric World. It was called DINOSAURS! sponsored by Wells Fargo, it was open from May to September 2008. The dinosaurs were Parasaurolophus, Megalosaurus, Dilophosaurus, Pachycephalosaurus, Rhamphorhynchus (not a dinosaur), Brachiosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Apatosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, Compsognathus, Deinonychus and Iguanodon and also includes a map of the timeline, baby dinosaurs, a dig site, a fossil to make the fossils back together and toys in the Elephant Museum.
The zoo operated a new exhibit, which ran during the summers of 2010 and 2011, with new dinosaurs, called Prehistoric Predators. The dinosaurs featured were Edmontosaurus, Baryonyx, Styracosaurus, Troodon, Dilophosaurus (returning and also having a juvenile), Therizinosaurus, Allosaurus, Quetzalcoatlus (not a dinosaur), Sarcosuchus (not a dinosaur), Cryolophosaurus, Rugops, Kentrosaurus, Deltadromeus, Giganotosaurus, Brachiosaurus (returning but in a new spot), Carnotaurus, and Amargasaurus. The exhibit also has a dig site, with fossil parts of various dinosaurs, and dinosaur toys are available in the Elephant Museum.
Great Northwest: This exhibit includes 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, and includes a suspension bridge that offers views of Black Bear Ridge.
Other exhibits: The zoo also has areas with Humboldt penguins, Inca terns, lories and lorikeets, and the Insect Zoo Hut. Other exhibits include the Cats of the Amur Region which houses Amur leopards and Amur tigers. The Primate Exhibit features chimpanzees, orangutans, White-cheeked gibbons, mandrills, siamangs, tree shrews, Burmese pythons, ring-tailed lemurs L'Hoest's monkeys and Francois' langurs. Red Ape Reserve opened September 3, 2010. It is an indoor/outdoor exhibit housing both orangutans and white cheeked gibbons. There are two species of endangered wild pigs in the Asian Pigs exhibit: babirusas and Visayan warty pigs.
Where in the Zoo is Carmen Sandiego
- Wildlife Live! summer shows, weather permitting
- Zoolights: December holiday evenings light display
- Washington Park and Zoo Railway
In the late 1990s, the Metro Washington Park Zoo, (now the Oregon Zoo), in conjunction with Brøderbund, ran a summer-long event titled Where in the Zoo is Carmen Sandiego?, which functioned as a full-immersion live-action Carmen game in which zoo patrons were the investigating detectives. This was a pioneering example of Alternate Reality Gaming. Actors were hired to play Carmen's henchmen, who could be found around the zoo, and on occasions a costumed Carmen appeared, as well, but never in a location where patrons could interact with her. Clues were given out at various stations by members of the ZooTeens volunteer group.
The zoo is located at the southern boundary of Washington Park, which is also the home of Portland Children's Museum
, World Forestry Center, Oregon Vietnam
Veterans Memorial, and Hoyt Arboretum
. An adjacent trail system connects the zoo to the International Rose Test Garden, the Portland Japanese Garden
, and Forest Park