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Saturday, August 11, 2007
My younger sister and I made a trip to the Oregon Zoo in years last Sunday. A relatively new area devoted to animals from the NW was impressive but many other exhibits are looking pretty shabby these days.
In particular, the penguin building, could use some work. The inside smells like a hundred outhouses and the interior doesn't look like it's been painted or updated since the mid-60s. The African area, which was incredibly impressive when it first opened in the early '90s, is starting to look its age. A walk-through exhibit devoted to exotic birds was nearly empty. Most disappointing was the elephant pen, a crown jewel of the zoo since the day Packy, the first elephant born in the Western Hemisphere in nearly half a century, made his world debut. We only spotted one elephant in the pen's three areas. Where do the others hang out on busy weekends? The zoo is still home to several elephants, right?
All this would be easier to take if it weren't for a display we spotted near the tiger pen. Administrators are currently hunting down donations and funding to open a new wing and bring lions back to the zoo. This is all good and well but how about dumping some funds into updating existing exhibits? Don't give the penguins the shaft, guys.
But ignoring current infrastructure while pumping cash into newer projects seems to be the m.o. of local and national government these days, no? Anyway, here are some photos of the still impressive areas of the zoo: