Portland, Oregon Zoo

posted in: Places To Visit | 0

I’ve been to many zoos: Point Defiance in Tacoma, Washington, the San Diego, the San Francisco. None of them hold a candle to the newly renovated Oregon Zoo.  The diverse collection of animals here coupled with the beautiful enclosures, interesting architecture, naturally temperate environment and proximity to the city itself, makes the Oregon Zoo one of the world’s finest.

Today I rode the Max into the area of beautiful homes in the West Hills of Portland. It drops you off in a tunnel (the walls of which are decorated with art depicting the origin of the earth) just a few steps from the zoo entrance. By taking the Max, not only am I doing my part to help the environment, I’m saving two dollars on admission, and myself the stress of looking for a parking spot to squeeze into. With my zoo pass, I don’t wait in line. I just exit the tunnel and enter into a world of animalian pleasure.

The zoo is arranged by region. I enter and see a white mountain goat guarding the entrance to the Great Northwest. I walk across a bridge and see a black bear sleeping. Further down the path, I watch a pair of bald eagles nesting and a tame looking cougar lounging in a tree. They’re interesting and beautiful.

But they’re not why I’m here.

I zip up my jacket and head to the Alaskan Tundra where I’m greeted by howling wolves. But it’s cold, so my stay here is short. The wolves are interesting and beautiful.

But they’re not why I’m here.

I unzip my jacket and take a safari into Africa. A handsome male sits on top of a rock, looking out on his human oglers. I wonder if he has the leaping ability to reach us.   Up the hill, a pair of giraffes, hippopotami, some flat billed birds, a couple gazelles and some rhinos wait for me. Here, I’m able to get quite close. The giraffe and I are eye to eye. I can smell its pungent breath. Exiting Africa, a tunnel system of blind mole rats lines the walls, and you can see the hairless monsters in all their creepy baldness. They’re interesting and beautiful.

But they’re not why I’m here.

Hungry now, I stop for a break in the Rain Forest Café where I order a delicious hamburger (reasonably priced) a side of crinkle fries and a Coca-Cola. I choose a seat overlooking the aviary and watch birds build nests and feed their young.  I finish my food and head outside.  I order an elephant ear from one of the numerous vending carts. I eat this cinnamon and sugar confection while I watch the Asian elephants amble, graze and bathe themselves.  I notice how much the baby elephant has grown since I was last here several months ago. As I prepare to face the humidity of the rain forest, I see a crowd gather on a field. I hear cheers. I see an Eagle fly across the lawn and I stop and watch the show wondering why the birds don’t just fly away to freedom. They’re interesting and beautiful.

But they’re not why I’m here.

 

Cont’d. . .

 

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