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6 Reasons the Oregon Zoo is Amazing

6 Reasons the Oregon Zoo is Amazing

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A couple of months ago we found out that my parents were moving back to the US West coast from the Atlanta, GA area. We were trilled! It had been over 13 years since I could drive to them. As a part of the relocation package, my parents moved to Oregon. Much to our surprise, my folks found a great place to live within the first day of their home search and after locking it down, the rest of the weekend was our oyster.

Given I’d brought Charlie along, we wanted to do something that would entertain him. Around the time Charlie turned one, we were in the Portland area for my Brother/Sister-in-law’s wedding and during one of the days, my spouse and I took Charlie to the Oregon Zoo. I didn’t think he’d remembered our trip, so we thought it would be a good way to entertain him and get some ‘exercise.’ After a fun breakfast at the local IHOP, we made our way to the Oregon Zoo. These are 6 reasons this zoo great!

1. The Elephants

Elephants are, hands down, my favorite animal. They are beautiful, intelligent and entertaining to watch. Growing up in Oregon, I’ve been to the (then) Portland Zoo a million times. However, in 2015, the Oregon Zoo celebrated it’s grand opening for the Elephant Lands habitat. Oregon has always been a pioneer in elephant conservation and education, so to see this new habitat come to life was amazing to experience.

According to Oregon Live, the project took almost four years, quadrupling the size of the previous habitat. The elephant curator, Bob Lee said, “It’s filled with choice and variety. Lots of different topography. There’s hillsides for them to run around. There’s mud walls for them to play in. Massive pools for them to dunk themselves in. We couldn’t be happier with all the work that’s gone into it.” Definitely check it out!

Elephant Lands – Lily


2. Lion Exhibit

A lot of zoos have lions; however, the Oregon Zoo’s exhibit packs a punch. The ability to see the pride, is what really caught my attention. While I love my local zoo’s lion exhibit, it doesn’t really give you a great line of sight to the animals. In the Oregon Zoo, the pride is on display, but they have plenty of room to roam. Couple the exhibit with bronze statues, it’s a great place for kiddos to see and burn some energy.

Lion Pride at the Oregon Zoo

3. The Cheetahs

Our son loved the cheetahs. Maybe less because the of the cheetahs and more because of the viewing area. Built, literally, into the exhibit is a jeep. The way the Oregon Zoo displayed the jeep was to embed it into the glass patrician, allowing kids to pretend they’re on an actual safari. My son and other little ones took turns ‘driving’ the jeep across the Serengeti; we could barely pull him away to see other animals.

Having some fun at the cheetah exhibit

4. Zoo Railway

The Oregon Zoo has a cute train. During the winter months, you can experience the zoo lights, while riding the train. Ticks will cost $4 per person (2 and under free). We didn’t ride the train this trip, but we will next time.

Mailing letters at the Oregon Zoo Railway

5. ZooLights

While the ZooLights only last during the holiday season, if you happen to be in Portland during the holidays, the Oregon Zoo is a must. Boasting more than half a million lights, going during the holiday season is a great way to experience the zoo. Make sure you pack a coat and, more likely, a rain jacket!!

6. The Max

If you’re staying in downtown Portland, the zoo is easily accessible by Portland’s mass transit light rail, the Max. The Oregon Zoo is literally one of the stops along the rail. So whether you stay in Portland, Hillsboro, Gresham or somewhere in Beaverton, you’re just a Max stop away from the animals.

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