A beautiful landscape of a waterboby and mountain in Oregon. A beautiful landscape of a waterboby and mountain in Oregon.

Zoos of Oregon: 5 Enchanting Escapes

Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Known for its landscape and many outdoor recreational opportunities, including scenic bikeways, lush forests, and beautiful lakes.

1. Introduction

This is the perfect place for people who love going outdoors. The nickname of the state is The Beaver State, and statehood began in the state in 1859.

The state starts with a rugged coastline and a desert temperature, but the climate of the state changes with seasonal functions; mostly, it is mild and cool in Oregon. Also, the state has a good amount of snow throughout the year, specifically in winter.

It has everything a person asks for, from the stunning mountain ranges, evergreen forests, and some breathtaking beaches, which is where most proposals happen, and we haven’t yet talked about its charming towns. Oregon living is home to every person, whether you are a beach person or a mountain person; Oregon is a unique state that offers a lot to its residents.

But as much as the state gives out to its residents, it asks more in return as living in Oregon is 14% higher than the national average cost of living, so the housing is 29% higher, while utilities are 6% higher and stuff like food and groceries are also 6% higher than the rest of the country. Oregon is one of the most expensive places in the country to call it home.

Portland a city in Oregon
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The biggest city in the state is Portland, and the capital is Salem. The state has also developed one of the finest wine-making regions in the U.S. in the Willamette Valley. With all the landscapes and mountains, Oregon State has nine fascinating zoos; today, we’ll learn more about those zoos.

2. Introduction to Zoos

But what exactly are zoos? In simple words, these are enclosed areas or cages inside which animals are kept for human attraction.

A Chimpanzee seen of branches.
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But let us hear from the internet what is the proper definition of a zoo, “an establishment which maintains a collection of wild animals, typically in a park or gardens, for study, conservation, or display to the public.” Usually, the spaces are very large, and animals are way farther than humans to avoid any mishaps.

Zoos are very popular among kids as they get to see the animals who are in their storybooks. Toddlers love it as they not only get to encounter the animals in real life but also understand who the wildebeest we shall be scared of and who are the loveable petting animals.

Leopard seen in cage
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That way, it’s a learning lesson, too.

2.1 Famous Zoo and Aquarium to Visit in Oregon

2.1.1 The Oregon Zoo

Founded in 1888, Oregon Zoo is one of the biggest in the state.  It covers 64 acres of land. The Oregon Zoo, formerly known as the Portland Zoo and later became known as the Washington Park Zoo, is located in Washington Park, in Portland. Situated in the scenic Washington Park, the Oregon Zoo is home to a variety of animals all around the world, like Asian elephants, tigers, and other primates.

A picture of an elephant in a zoo.
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The zoo has over 1800 animals with over 230 species, making it a gem amongst the numerous zoos and safari parks in Oregon State. It is also the highest and largest paid and the most popular visitor attraction in the state.

It also has one petting zoo where visitors interact with domestic animals like goats and sheep. One of the highlights is the African Savanna exhibits, which recreate the natural habitat of African animals like giraffes, zebras, deer, lions, etc.

Don’t miss out on the biggest highlights of the zoo: Ella, the African-painted dog, Asian Elephants, Summer Concerts, Carousel, and zoo lights.

  • Location: 4001 Southwest Canyon Road, Portland, OR 97221, USA.

2.1.2 Sea Lion Caves

America’s largest sea cave is a well-linked system of sea caves that opens in a chamber to the Pacific Ocean in the state of Oregon. Situated 18 km north of Florence is the Sea lion caves. The midpoint of the cave is located on the Oregon Coast. It has three different entry points for the visitors. Captain William Cox, a local seaman, discovered it in the year 1880.

Sea Lion captured in a zoo.
By Robert So, Pexels, Copyright 2023

Private caves are available as well with tickets. Steller Sea lion is the main attraction in the sea. The sea cave is a natural wonder that emerged due to the erosion of a basalt cliff. Today the cave acoustic allows the sea lions to bark and bellow sounds to ring louder and clearer. The cave is accessed through the elevator, but visitors can watch sea lions from the observation desk all year.

  • Location: 91560 US-101, Florence, OR 97439, USA

2.1.3 Oregon Coast Aquarium

If you are looking for an experience like no other, you must check out the Oregon Coast Aquarium. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is known as the home of Keiko. Opened in the year 1992, this aquarium covers about 23 acres of space.

Visitors capturing shark in aquarium
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For its collection, the aquarium mainly focuses on the coastal region of Oregon, which comprises sea otters, harbor seals, and sea lions. It also features native wildlife and has the largest Seabird Aviary in North America. But do not miss out on the highlight animals like the Keiko, the giant Pacific Ocean octopus, Oswald, Koya, and many more.

Furthermore, you may learn about these sea creatures behind the tours and programs. The aquarium headwaters include recirculating streams. Isn’t it crazy!!!

  • Location: 2820 SE Ferry Slip Rd, Newport, OR 97365, USA.

2.1.4  Cascades Raptor Centre

The Cascades Raptor Center in Eugene, Oregon, is a non-profit organization dedicated to rehabilitating and releasing injured and orphaned birds of prey. The center is famous for its wide collection of native raptor species. Opened in 1987, this is a nature center and a wildlife bird hospital.

Bird sitting on a branch with thorns.
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The center features several aviaries where visitors can see the birds up close and care for the Cascades Raptor Centre, which features 50 birds of 30 different species.

Around 300 birds were treated in this center in 2014. The center also provides educational programs for small and large groups with no age barriers. Their owl species grabs the visitors’ attention from the other birds

All in all, Cascades Raptor Centre is the perfect place for bird lovers, nature enthusiasts, and school field trips to visit.

  • Location: 32275 Fox Hollow Rd, Eugene, OR 97405, USA.

2.1.5 Seaside Aquarium

Privately owned aquarium situated in Seaside, Oregon. Founded in 1937, this is one of the oldest aquariums on the west coast of Oregon.

Fishes inside the aquarium tank
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Seaside Aquarium is home to 100 different species of marine animals, including moray eels, octopuses, 20 armed sea stars, and many more marine animals.

The aquarium established its first program to breed harbor seals in captivity. Furthermore, the seaside aquarium features a touch tank where the visitors can touch and learn about local sea creatures like starfish and sea urchins.

Moreover, the seaside aquarium is an excellent place for visitors from all spectrums to discover new facts about marine life as it exists in the Pacific Northwest.

  • Location: 200 N Prom, Seaside, OR 97138, USA.

Oregon is one of the most expensive states and offers nine zoos and aquariums, each with its specialty and uniqueness. Well, the prices of tickets may be high, but the visit is worth it, you will have a great time there. I can bet on that.

Bonus points are that many zoos offer educational programs without any age barriers, so you’ll know more about animals in the Cascades Raptor Center regardless of your age, and the bird viewer gets more senior citizen membership.

Red Panda lying down on a bench.
By Cesar Alejo, Pexels, Copyright 2023

End Note

Well, as much as we shall appreciate these five zoos and their animals, some who need more appreciation are the animal handlers and the cleaning staff. It is often noticed that people leave some wrappers behind in zoos or throw stones at animals. This behavior is completely inappropriate towards the animals, and they might get brutally hurt; this is also a punishable offense that might lead to jail.

3. Question/Answers

Q) What is the definition of Zoo?

A) A zoo can be defined as an establishment that maintains a collection of wild animals, typically in a park or garden, for study, conservation, or display to the public.

Q) When was the first zoo opened?

A) The first modern zoo, built in 1793, opened in Paris, France.

Q) Why did they name a zoo?

A) The term zoological garden refers to zoology, the study of animals. The term is derived from the Greek ζώον, zoon, ‘animal,’ and the suffix -λογία, -logia, ‘study of.’

Q) When was the first zoo opened in India?

A) The history of Chennai Zoo (formerly known as Madras Zoo) dates back to the year 1855.

Q) What is the best time to visit zoos?

A) Visiting Zoos on weekends can be stressful as during weekends zoos are fun, and you can’t even enjoy properly in big crowds so if you want to visit the zoo, go during weekdays afternoon as it is less crowded at that time.

Q) Can we touch the Aquarium glass?

A) Yes, you can touch the Aquarium glass, but you are not allowed to punch or do any harm to the glass as it may turn out wrong for the staff and visitors.

Q) When is the best time of year to visit Oregon?

A) If you are planning to visit zoos and aquariums, then the summer months of June to August are ideal because the weather is warm and dry.

Q) As a tourist, what is the best method of transportation in Oregon?

A) Car rental is a great option if you want to explore different cities in the state. However, if you are staying in a bigger city like Bend, Eugene, or Portland and plan to stay in that specific city, public transportation is a great option

Q)Which Oregon cities have the best variety of zoos and aquariums?

A) Out of all the cities of Oregon, the city like Portland, Newport, Salem, Eugene, and Bend has the best variety of zoos and aquariums.

Q) What is Oregon’s nickname?

A) The nickname given to Oregon is Beaver State.

Q) What is the climate in Oregon?

A) Weather varies from season to season, with Oregon generally having cool, wet winters and warm, dry summer climates in the state.

Q) What food is Oregon famous for?

A) Well, When it comes to food, Oregon is known for blueberries, huckleberries, marionberries, Dungeness crab, and hazelnuts (Oregon produces 99% of the nation’s hazelnut crops).

Q) What makes Oregon unique?

A) Oregon is a state of contrasts, with snow-dusted mountains, dramatic river canyons, lush valleys, rugged coast, arid plains, and fertile fields.

Q) What’s the best thing about Oregon?

Oregon is best known for access to incredible scenery, ample recreational opportunities, great breweries, and an easier way of life.

Q) Is Oregon a low-crime state?

.A) Generally, states with smaller populations tend to have lower levels of crime, so the state of Oregon has a very low crime rate, but it is not a crime-free state.

Q) What is the most common crime in Oregon?

A) Larceny is the most common crime in the state.

Q) Is it expensive to live in Oregon?

A) The cost of living in Oregon is 14% higher than the national average.

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