With more than 1,800 animals representing 232 species, the Oregon Zoo provides ample opportunity to visit all manner of creatures that swim, sprint and soar. Of these species, 19 are endangered and nine are threatened, demonstrating the Zoo's commitment to its conservation efforts. The park spans 64 acres, with 23 specialized exhibits, including the Zoo's botanical gardens which showcases more than 1,000 exotic plant species.
Native plants line walkways, creating a naturalistic environment showcasing the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest. The Zoo also strives for improved sustainability throughout the park, including a water savings program launched in 2011 that saves 12 million gallons of water annually, solar panel electricity for the Veterinary Medical Center, a solid waste recycling program that has reduced 80% of waste, and much more. Annual attendance tops 1.5 million visitors, making it one of the most visited attractions in the city.
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The Exhibits of the Oregon Zoo are grouped into five major areas: Asia, Africa, Fragile Forests, the Great Northwest and the Pacific Shores. A trip to the Zoo can cover the globe as visitors move from one area to the next, learning about wildlife from many different continents. For a particularly engaging experience, behind the scenes tours teach visitors about the workings of a zoo or habits of a beloved favorite animal.
The Asia Exhibit is home to a variety of animals sure to pique the interest of visitors. The Island of Pigs exhibit includes Babirusa pigs that live only on the Island of Sulawesi, making them very rare. The Oregon Zoo one of the few parks in the United States to feature these animals. The more familiar Asia Elephants also make their home in the Asia Exhibit of the Zoo, which includes one of the largest indoor elephant facilities in the world, in addition to their ample outdoor space. The Malayan Sun Bears can also be found in this part of the Zoo. These bears are nocturnal, so evening may be the best time to see them when they are just waking up.
Many familiar animal faces can be found in the Predators of the Serengeti exhibit in Africa Land, including lions, cheetahs and Burmese pythons. From there, visitors may want to head to the African Savanna, for even more adored animals such as giraffes, rhinoceroses and hippopotamuses. Even the unusual naked mole rat is included in this exhibit. A walk through the Howard Vollum Aviary will surround visitors with the sights and sounds of brightly colored birds chippering and hopping, flapping and soaring through the enclosure. A trip to the Africa land would not be complete without a visit to the African Rainforest exhibit to see fruit bats, crocodiles, swamp monkeys and many more creatures of the rainforest and its waters.
Photo: Oregon Zoo
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