Too much of our favourite things is not a good thing, and we wanted a break from all the drinking and eating on our trip. Thus, on our last day in Portland, we decided to visit the Oregon Zoo in the morning before catching our train back to Canada.

From the Society Hotel, we hopped onto 2 Max Line Trams to Washington Park where The Oregon Zoo was. We thought maybe it will be a short visit as we have never heard about the zoo in Portland from friends before.

Here are our favourite things about our winter visit to the Oregon Zoo.

Great Northwest > Pacific Shores


After zipping up from the underground train station, Douglas had to run to the restroom while I was reading our zoo map at the entrance to plot our walk. When I turned around, for a brief moment I thought I was looking at a statue of a Rocky Mountain Goat. Douglas laughed when I yelped in surprise when the goat moved around the rocks.

Rocky Mountain Goat

Douglas: “Did you not know that’s a real animal?”
Me: “It’s so beautiful. I didn’t expect to see an animal to close to the entrance already!”

Instead of walking through the Great Northwest right away, we tagged along with a couple families that were dashing down past the Zoo Train. We walked by a couple of empty tanks until we came across the Sea Otters. They’re so cute huddling together!


I liked how at the Oregon Zoo, there were many educational displays about the animals. In addition, I liked how there were a lot of easy to understand suggestions for families to take action on how to help animals and their habitats.

img_5876-1024x644The seals in the Pacific Shores were whisking around in their tanks.

img_5877-1024x704We tucked into the Primate Forest looking at chimpanzees and primates. There are signs all around the zoo that indicate when the feeding times were for specific animals to help visitors time when to see them come out to eat. We wandered across the indoor feeding times of the resident anaconda and the piranhas, just in time as it started to drizzle outside.

Lunch at the Afri-cafe.
To take a break from the light rain, and also avoid lunch time crowds, we had an early lunch inside of Afri-cafe. We found that inside the Afri-cafe that you can watch the birds fly around aviary next door. You might get dizzy from watching a particular species taking laps around the aviary roof-top while you’re having lunch.

Animals from Africa

We walked through the areas of the African Savanna and the African Rainforest to see how many animals we may find.

Playing hide-and-go-seek with the Rhinos

I was really excited to look at the giraffes. They have a wide area to wander around, and you can see how tall they are by a scale in a certain area. The majority of the animals were friendly and wanted to come closer to check out who the visitors were.



It was fun to make a game out of pointing out animals in their homes. The bats reminded me of cute chihuahuas with wings. They were feasting like crazy, and it was fascinating to watch how they would slowly walk from one food bowl to the next.


c15713e2-11fe-4ba7-9eb4-cd0ef76dabc1-1024x1024We walked past the site for the upcoming Discovery Zone, opening in March 2017, to find the resident tiger keeping dry from the rain.

30876446-73ae-4d2b-8561-bf66b16ea057-1024x801We wandered back towards the Elephant Lands and we found the elephants were both indoors and outdoors during their feeding time. There were so many kids and their parents in awe of the elephants. There were a lot of interactive and educational areas indoors and outdoors to learn about the many aspects of elephants.

d431af09-632c-4235-8369-7439f56c66d2-1024x1024In the Great Northwest

To wrap up our visit, we walked throughout the Great Northwest to see the remaining animals.

1a12c7e0-0741-4d9f-ae09-28e32dcab4f6-1024x1024The Condors looked so big with their wings spread out so widely. They remind me of vultures.

d5c07873-5522-4f6c-b300-3d3a0d2d5e60-1024x1024I love how some of the animals really like to play up to the camera. Amongst the pair, one cougar was really playing it up with their paws while we snapped photos.

img_5865There were some animals that like to hide from prying visitor eyes, like the bobcat. Every time I got closer to the glass to take a look, the bobcats liked to hop on the tall logs. Finally, while I turned to walk away, I snapped a pic to capture the sneaky cuteness of one of the bobcats.

oregonzoo-eagle-1024x1024When we came across the viewing area for the Eagles, I was a little cautious as I saw there was no glass in between us and the majestic birds. With their wingspan being so big, it’s understandable that the viewing area has specially placed cords to block them from flying too close to greet visitors.

img_5862-1024x683Looking at the time, we dashed back underground to take the Max back to our hotel.

Oregon Zoo Visiting Tips

If you can bear the cold and a little rain, go visit during the off-peak, non busy times. It’s fun engaging with the kids with their folks as you look at animals together. You’ll have tonnes of space to walk around as there are not as many crowds and visitors.

If it’s possible, also consider taking the train or tram. Though parking may seem convenient, we found taking the train was pretty smooth.

And of course, be prepared in taking lots of pictures, especially if you go during the animals’ feeding times. For all the animals, we loved how spacious the zoo made for them.

Thank you to Travel Portland and Oregon Zoo for the opportunity to visit. Explore more of 145 square miles of PDX >