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Elephant Lands (New in Dec. 2015) - $60 Million Project

August 19th, 2016.

Elephant Lands (New in Dec. 2015) - $60 Million Project
snowleopard, 21 Aug 2016
Elephantelephant likes this.
    • snowleopard
      August 19th, 2016.
    • GraysonDP
      What were your thoughts on this exhibit?
    • snowleopard
      I was a bit disappointed. My belief is that Oregon Zoo is perhaps one of the 20 best zoos in the USA, community support is sky-high with year after year of record-breaking attendance, and at 6 acres in total (including 4 acres of paddocks) Elephant Lands is a worthy addition to the zoo. Here is a photo of the main exhibit area:

      However, having said all of that, the new complex is underwhelming. The basic cable-style fencing dominates the landscape and is not even comparable to the mud-bank backdrops of Dallas and Birmingham. There is not a blade of grass to be seen anywhere inside the elephant areas, which is much different from North Carolina Zoo's 7 acres of grassland or Nashville's wonderful exhibit for pachyderms. Oregon's big elephant barn is just more piles of sand and cables and reminiscent of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's setup where there is a visitor bridge that is crossed and a one-way path to the barn. However, the Colorado zoo has a nicer bridge, a much more impressive barn, and amazing mountain-top views. Oregon's barn is a sheer wall of cement, with lots of concrete, cables and sand dominating the landscape.

      Oregon does have some fantastic interpretative graphics, a comprehensive chronology of the history of elephants at the zoo, and many metal feeder tubes situated alongside portions of the exhibit that I actively saw being utilized by several elephants. I honestly think much is to be admired in Elephant Lands but my main disappointment stems from the fact that aesthetically the complex could have been so much better. The "look" of the paddocks is fairly barren and calling the barn The Great Forest Hall is ridiculous. For those that don't give a darn about aesthetics then Elephant Lands is a success, but it doesn't even come up to the recent standards set by new elephant habitats in Omaha and Sedgwick County, let alone Dallas, North Carolina, Birmingham and Nashville.
    • Yassa
      Thank you very much for those pictures! I have to say that it looks way smaller then 4 acres of useable paddocks for the elephants. And I see nothing that could have cost the pricetag of $ 60 millions. Underwhelming.
    • lintworm
      My thougts exactly, for about the same costs Zurich built the arguably best elephant house worldwide (though with slightly disappointing outdoor enclosures) and building in Switzerland is much more expensive then the US...
    • Wyman
      @Yassa Demolishing the old building/yards, the cost of steel barriers and concrete footers/foundations, implementing *initially* costly energy-saving measures (metal coils that heat the elephant building while simultaneously cooling the future polar bear pools), etc. Overall, it all adds up.
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    Oregon Zoo
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    21 Aug 2016
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