Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Spring Oregon Zoo Outing and Spring Trillium

One of our families favorite activities has always been to visit our local zoo. The Oregon Zoo is a really great place to visit year round, when the kids were little I would visit the zoo a couple of times per week, since it was a nice safe place to stroll around with little ones, and get great exercise. As a teenager I spent my summers volunteering at the zoo which was a great learning opportunity. Earlier this spring we took a family outing to the zoo and as usual had a wonderful time seeing all of the animals, as well as seeing the new construction going on for the elephant's new area.

The Black Bears at the beginning of the Great Northwest area are so fun to watch. Every time we've been they are all playing with each other. The upper part of their enclosure really allows for a good up close view. They remind us of our dogs, I often refer to my old shepherd lab as my old bear, the bears, of course, are quite a bit bigger, but just as playful. I thought it was funny too that this crow felt right at home walking around the bears!

Throughout the Great Northwest exhibit there is a beautiful nature trail with lots of native plants like this Oregon Grape plant below with its bright yellow blossoms, I really need to plant one in my garden! The Eagle Canyon Exhibit is also amazing, you can see the bald eagles so close up!

I love this trail etiquette sign, it reminded me of the things we used to learn at outdoor school camp, definitely great tips for exploring nature!

One of the happiest surprises I had walking through the Great Northwest trail was spotting all of the blooming trillium! I love these little white flowers, back when I was a grade school student, at camp, we were taught never to pick these special flowers. Every time I spot one it brings me right back to all the time I spent exploring forest trails.

After we were finished with the Great Northwest section of the zoo, we decided to head on over to the train and take a loop around the zoo. The train ride is much shorter than it used to be because of zoo construction going on, but even a short zoo train ride is fun. :)

The train went right by the new elephant lands being built. I am so excited to see this part of the zoo completed at the end of the year. The zoo actually has plans to really update and expand many of the older parts of the zoo, which I am excited to see. The elephant area will be a huge space for the elephants, and I think that is a wonderful improvement.

I was excited to stop by the lions and check out the new lion cubs. The cubs were so cute, and the lion and lionesses so majestic, it was really fun seeing them all out at once.

The tiger was pretty amazing as well, as a youth I had the opportunity to do a behind the scenes tour of the tiger and saw him pretty close up, I remember being struck by how massive his head was, much different than seeing him from his regular exhibit. All of the different spots and stripes on the animals are so interesting!

I always have to stop by the bats, this time when we stopped by they had just been fed, so there was fruit and veggies hanging throughout their branches. It is interesting to watch them walking along upside down. I actually think they are pretty fascinating animals.

I was also very excited to finally get to see the flamingos, which are a fairly new arrival to our zoo. This was the first time I had seen a flamingo in person. Of course I loved their pretty pink color, their eyes were a piercing reddish looking color which was a little intimidating looking. I also didn't realize some of their feathers were black. That is why I love seeing these animals in person, it is just a much richer experience than seeing pictures of them.

Overall it was a wonderful day at the zoo, the weather was perfect, not too hot, not too cold. We finished up our visit with a stop at the elephant ear cart. We all love elephant ears, in all of their fried cinnamony goodness, definitely a fun treat for the end of our zoo day. :)

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  1. That's interesting that you worked at a zoo, April! Those bears are so cute. One time when we were out in the country, a big ole black bear ran out right in front of us. We just missed him by inches. Got a good look at him! Anxiously awaiting our trilliums. When you see trilliums you know morel mushrooms are nearby. Have a nice weekend!


    1. Yikes, that would be frightening to run across a bear in the wild! I am always a little nervous about cougar in our woods, black bear would be worrisome too, but definitely a memorable experience as long as they you saw them from a safe distance. :) Working at the zoo was definitely a very fun part of my youth, our zoo has a great volunteer program for all ages, if I ever live closer I would love to volunteer more. I had no idea about morels being near trillium, that makes sense though, it seems like the perfect growing conditions for mushrooms, mushroom hunting is very popular here in Oregon. Hope you have a nice weekend as well! :)

  2. I normally wouldn't even think of going to the Oregon Zoo this time of year, but the weather has been so nice, I think I'll give it a try soon. I have several friends with small children who would probably want to go on 2nd Tuesday when tickets are discounted. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Spring visits to the zoo are extra nice, even when it is a little overcast, I have found over the years that the animals are a lot more active on cooler days, which makes the zoo all the more enjoyable. :) Thanks for stopping by! :)


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