Oregon Zoo was established in 1888 when a Portland pharmacist who collected animals donated them to the city. The zoo began with grizzly and brown bears named Grace and Brownie. Starting with just two bears, slowly more and more animals found their home at the Portland Zoo. Today, it houses about 2,000 animals representing 232 species of mammals, birds, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. More than 1,000 species of native plants have been cultivated to create natural exhibits and pathways within the zoo.
The zoo became famous across the world in 1962 when a heavily pregnant Asian elephant named Belle delivered Packy, the first Asian elephant born in the West. As of 2010, Packy was the tallest elephant in the United States. He sired seven calves marking the most successful zoo elephant-breeding program. Packy was euthanized in 2017 at the age of 54 (the oldest living Asian elephant in North America) after a long-term struggle with drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Oregon Zoo's preservation efforts to save 19 endangered species and 9 threatened species have been a huge success. Asian elephants, Amur tigers, California condors, Western pond turtles, Oregon spotted frogs, African lions, and others have been preserved and bred successfully. The zoo has 24 exhibits including Africa Rainforest, Africa Savanna, Great Northwest, Amazon Flooded Forest, Black Bear Ridge, Black Bear Ridge, Condors of the Columbia, Cougar Crossing, Polar Bears, Predators of the Serengeti, and much more.
Oregon Zoo hosts summer evening concerts from June to September and a holiday light display with over one million LED lights from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day.
If you plan to visit other places in Washington Park, you can ride one of three trains on Washington Park & Zoo Railway (WP&Z): The Zooliner, The Oregon Express, or the 4-4-0 No. 1, Oregon. Open from Memorial Day to Labor Day daily, the railroad provides the connection between Oregon Zoo, Hoyt Arboretum, International Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, and the World Forestry Center. Trains also run during the holiday lights season. For a small fee, you can enjoy a train ride and get to other destinations to make your Portland visit more memorable. Do not forget to purchase admission to the zoo if you board at the International Rose Garden.
A free shuttle service is available in Washington Park from May to October, providing transportation between Washington Park MAX Station, Japanese and Rose Gardens, and Hoyt Arboretum.
Year-round, all days and hours are subject to change.