Oregon Zoo - Portland, Oregon

Oregon Zoo Attraction

Address: 4001 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221

The Oregon Zoo, formerly known as the Portland Zoo and later known as the Washington Park Zoo, is a zoo in Washington Park, Portland, Oregon, about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) southwest of downtown Portland. It is the oldest zoo west of the Mississippi River, having opened in 1888. The zoo covers 63 acres (25.14 hectares) of hilly terrain. It is home to more than 1800 animal species, about 30 of which are listed as endangered or threatened.

The Oregon Zoo's success has led to an international reputation for innovative approaches to wildlife conservation. These include breeding programs saving the California condor from extinction in the wild, the first successful birth of an orangutan in North America, and successfully breeding African lions.


The zoo was founded in 1888. Richard Knight bought two bears, one brown and one grizzly, which was the start of it all. Knight, a pharmacist who used to be a seaman, started gathering animals from his seafaring colleagues. When the rearing of the bears became too much for him, he eventually offered them to the city. This began the Portland Zoo.


The zoo has a large variety of different habitats for animals, including a butterfly exhibit, a kid's zoo, and a petting area, as well as the interactive Elephant Land. 

The zoo offers different amenities as well. These include constructions on the Polar Passage, Primate Forest, Rhino Habitat, Education Center, Elephant lands, Condors of Columbia, and the Veterinary Medical Center. These different structures allow visitors, young and old alike, to witness these animals in their almost natural setting and environment.  

In addition to having these amenities available on-site, it has also instituted off-site conservation projects in countries such as Nepal, Uganda, Brazil, and Argentina.

Animals at Oregon Zoo

The Oregon Zoo is a large-sized zoo that houses many different animals, such as polar bears, otters, and red pandas.

These animals are not just there for viewing. They live in the zoo's habitats and participate in animal enrichment activities, such as training sessions or games, while visitors observe them.


With many animals it caters to, the zoo offers exhibits on the African Savannah, Polar Bear Passage, and various other habitats for different animals. 

Getting There

On weekdays, the Oregon Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., while on weekends, it is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Oregon Zoo is in a charming part of Portland that is always a pleasure to visit. We at Sharp Tack Media love supporting our local attractions. Up next on our list is the International Rose Test Garden