Oregon Zoo

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by thecopes on August 4, 2002

The Oregon Zoo reminded me of Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo about 10 or 15 years ago. It's in transition from an old fashioned zoo with cages and "Monkey Houses" to a modern zoo with open area natural habitat viewing.

Our favorite exhibits were Stellar Cove with it's excellent underwater viewing of the sea lions swimming, the Africa Rainforest which features a thunderstorm with rain and lightning, and the Amazon Flooded Forest with it's exotic animals -- poison dart frogs are always a kid favorite!

While the elephants weren't being too cooperative at first (see picture), there is also indoor viewing that let us see their faces. The adjacent Elephant Museum has some excellent pachyderm artifacts.

One disappiontment was the penguin exhibit. It seemed run-down and being indoors it was obvious that these guys' diet consists of fish! Phew!

It was 92 degrees the day we were there, so a lot of the animals were in hiding so we only were able to get distant glimpses of some the larger mammals such as the grizzly bear and tiger. To beat the heat we bought a souvenir soda for $3.50 which allowed you to refill it for free at any of the concessions stands. If you're a Coke or Pepsi lover, be advised that the cola choice here is RC! We didn't care - it was cold and wet! The food is standard zoo fare - slightly overpriced burgers, hot dogs, pizza, etc., but decent quality. The animal shaped french fries were a big hit.

Our 12 year old decided he was too old to ride the train but we saw a lot of little kids and parents enjoying it. The cost is $2 for kids, $2.75 for adults.

This summer the zoo is featuring the Butterflies! Winged Wonders exhibit which was in Seattle last year. It's pleasant but to charge an additional $2 to enter seems a bit of a gouge. We've always felt that the butterfly exhibit at the Seattle Pacific Science Center is far superior and is included in the admission price.

The Zoo is easy to get to either via Tri-Met or by car off Route 26 (excellent signs). Parking can be a challenge as the lot is shared with the Forestry Center. We had to circle the lot a few times to find someone leaving.

All in all, the Oregon Zoo is nice destination for a half day family outing.

Oregon Zoo
4001 SW Canyon Rd
Portland, Oregon, 97221
(503) 220-2786


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