Updated: May 21, 2015
The Oregon Zoo:Just outside of downtown Portland on Hwy 26 sits the Oregon Zoo, or as I call it the Portland Zoo. The zoo is just large enough to make it a major attraction for residents and visitors to the city of Portland. I have been a member for about 3 years now and have come to like the smaller things at the zoo like Africa Rainforest, Cascade Canyon Trail, and their special exhibits like the Winged Wonders. You can spend about 2 to 3 hours at the zoo on any given visit and the # of exhibits has only increased since I've been going. The new Black Bear Ridge, Eagle Canyon, and Cougar Crossing are part of the Cascade Canyon Trail which my kids like to walk down. On warm summer days in Portland, there is no better place to be at than the zoo watching the elephants play or learning about the birds of prey. My kids love taking the train ride that goes through the zoo and out to Washington Park where you can get off the train and go for a hike or walk or just play at a nearby playground. The train ride for the zoo loop costs $3/adult and $2.50/kids, although members do get discounts.
One feature our family enjoys are the Zoo keys which our children carry around the zoo. You push the key into a slot at 17 of the animal exhibits to hear educational information on that particular animal. The keys work for the mountain goats, black bears, polar bears, penguins, elephants, bats, and at several other locations on the zoo grounds. The top exhibits are the Africa Savanna with zebra, hippos, giraffes, and rhinos, the Asian elephants, the bears, primates, and the sea lions and otters. The official website can be found online at Oregonzoo.org. I have always found the food services to be a little lacking at the zoo, although the Cascade Grill Restaurant is nice (but pricey). There are several places to eat as you make your way around the zoo grounds. Summer Camp at the Oregon zoo is a great program setup to help kids learn about animals and get hands on experience with their daily care. The 5 day camps are excellent educational tools for kids as young as 4 and up to grade 9. The Summer Concert series is another benefit we enjoy as members, but they are open to the general public too. The zoo concerts take place at the amphitheater near the elephants and the shows take place rain or shine. If you want Oregon zoo coupons or discounts, consider the Portland Attraction Pass HERE. The pass is roughly $35/adult ($29/kids) but lets you into the Zoo, Pittock Mansion, Japanese Garden, Portland Art Museum, Children's Museum and a few others. If you plan on visiting Portland then the pass is well worth the money and it lasts up to 5 days.
Location - Getting There - Maps:The address of the Oregon zoo is 4001 SW Canyon Road, Portland, Oregon 97221 and their phone number is 503-226-1561. The zoo is only about 5 minutes west of downtown Portland on Hwy 26. Washington Park is what surrounds the zoo and you can take the MAX (light rail) right to the zoo entrance. TriMet buses run through Washington Park throughout the day as well, so if the parking lot is full consider taking public transportation. For detailed directions on how to get to the Oregon zoo, go HERE. We have also provided a map down below which shows the zoo in vicinity to the city of Portland.
For a detailed map of the Oregon zoo, there is a PDF file located HERE. You could print it out, but at the admission office when you first enter the zoo, they give you the exact same map.