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The Pacific Northwest

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Pleistohorse, 27 May 2016.

  1. Pleistohorse

    Pleistohorse Well-Known Member

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    I will be flying down to Portland Oregon next month for a Pacific Northwest Road Trip. We plan to visit the Oregon Zoo, Northwest Trek, Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, Seattle Aquarium, Woodland Park Zoo, and the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Short visits to Mount Rainer NP, Mount St Helens NM, Olympic NP, and Redwood NP are also planned. May also visit Wildlife Safari and Seaside Aquarium if schedule permits.

    I am pretty excited about it. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Any insight into the zoos and aquariums listed would be appreciated too.

    We have no plans to visit Cougar Mountain, Olympic Game Farm, or Wolf Haven.

    Hoping to spot some wildlife (small mammals, Californian Sea Lions, elk, blacktailed and whitetail deer...fingers crossed for a bobcat or cougar--several years living near both and have only ever seen tracks) and of course some lower 48 birds.
     
  2. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Moderator Staff Member

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    The Hoh Valley temperate rain forest in Olympic National Park is really cool and highly recommended.

    Woodland Park Zoo is one of the best zoos in the country. They invented modern landscape immersion exhibits with their gorilla exhibit.
     
  3. Pleistohorse

    Pleistohorse Well-Known Member

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    I am looking forward to visiting Woodland Park Zoo. The Hoh Rainforest is definitely on the agenda. According to the guidebooks its a good spot for Roosevelt Elk as well. Thank you for the insights.
     
  4. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    You are going to be visiting an area that I know really well! I've been to all 11 of the zoos in Oregon and 8 out of the 11 zoos in Washington. I've provided the lists below but it seems as if you've already got a head start on the top zoos in the Pacific Northwest.

    I will point out that the city of Newport, Oregon, technically has 3 aquariums and it is very easy to see them all in a day. Oregon Undersea Gardens is essentially a single large tank and 30 minutes is enough time there; Hatfield Marine Science Center has about 20 tanks and is very good but also fairly small; a mile down the road is the fantastic Oregon Coast Aquarium. I'd recommend all 3 simply because they are there. :)

    11 Washington Zoos:

    Cat Tales Zoological Park (Mead)
    Cougar Mountain Zoo (Issaquah)
    Northwest Trek Wildlife Park (Eatonville)*
    Olympic Game Farm (Sequim)
    Outback Kangaroo Farm (Arlington)
    Pacific Science Center (Seattle)
    Point Defiance Zoo (Tacoma)*
    Reptile Zoo & Living Museum (Monroe)
    Seattle Aquarium (Seattle)*
    Wolf Haven (Tenino)
    Woodland Park Zoo (Seattle)*

    11 Oregon Zoos:

    Cascades Raptor Center (Eugene)
    Great Cats World Park (Cave Junction)
    Hatfield Marine Science Center (Newport)
    High Desert Museum (Bend)
    Oregon Coast Aquarium (Newport)*
    Oregon Undersea Gardens (Newport)
    Oregon Zoo (Portland)*
    Portland Aquarium (Portland) - now closed
    Seaside Aquarium (Seaside)
    West Coast Game Park Safari (Bandon)
    Wildlife Safari (Winston)*

    * AZA accredited
     
  5. Pleistohorse

    Pleistohorse Well-Known Member

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    Thank you. We will add the other two in Newport to the Oregon Coast Aquarium visit. I'm not generally a Aquarium person myself, except for the Marine Mammal and Bird Exhibits. My wife and kid, however enjoy them very much.

    If you wouldn't mind, what are your thoughts on Wildlife Safari? We may not be able to fit it in anyway...it will be a morning visit on our way back to Portland to catch a late flight to Anchorage. Is it worth a look?
     
  6. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I see that your itinerary includes these 8 facilities:

    Woodland Park Zoo
    Seattle Aquarium
    Point Defiance Zoo
    Northwest Trek Wildlife Park
    Oregon Zoo
    Oregon Coast Aquarium
    Hatfield Marine Science Center
    Oregon Undersea Gardens

    You mentioned Seaside Aquarium in your first post and while the establishment is historic (opening in 1937) it is not very impressive and features a shockingly awful harbour seal tank.

    Wildlife Safari can be easily toured in 2-3 hours and nothing is notable about the zoo. There is a small walk-around section but the vast majority of the time is spent in a car in a drive-thru environment. I went once a number of years ago and have never been back since even though I've passed relatively close to the area via numerous road trips.

    One option, if you are willing, is to drive north for 2.5 hours from Seattle and visit the Vancouver Aquarium in 1,000 acre Stanley Park. The aquarium is one of the 10 best in North America and receives 1.1 million annual visitors. The indoor section lacks a "wow factor" but overall is well above average, while the marine mammal line-up is excellent. Beluga Whale, False Killer Whale, Pacific White-Sided Dolphin, Steller's Sea Lion, Harbour Seal, Northern Fur Seal and Southern Sea Otter.
     
  7. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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    Northwest Trek is my personal favorite and one of the best (if not the best) zoological parks in the country. Though you could probably see it in half a day, if you have the time I would spend a whole day just because it is such a scenic and peaceful environment.

    Are you going to Redwood NP in North California (right across Oregon border)? I did that just under a year ago and it was great (staying in Crescent City, California). Driving between the separate sections (eg going south of Crescent City) I saw elk right along the road and also saw them on the beach in one of the parks.

    Depending on which route you take to Redwood, you may be driving right next to Great Cats World Park. It is small and part of it can only be seen on a guided tour (which they do ongoing, no need for a reservation). But if you are interested in cats you will see rarities, including the only African wildcats (F.s. lybica) that I know of in the United States, one of which is the only melanistic wildcat I have ever heard of.
     
  8. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member

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    If you're in Florence, check out Sea Lion Caves. Great area to spot California and Steller's sea lions in their natural habitats. And be sure to eat at Moe's if you're there. Great seafood chain along the Oregon coast.
     
  9. Pleistohorse

    Pleistohorse Well-Known Member

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    Thank you all.

    @snowleopard the Vancouver Aquarium's marine mammal collection is impressive. I do not think we will make it up there this trip though. I will put Wildlife Safari on the maybe list depending on our schedule.

    @Arizona Docent. Yep we will be staying in Crescent City. I am looking forward to both see the Redwoods of California and visiting NWT in Washington.

    @elefante. Sea Lion Caves is in the agenda and Moe's is added to it as well. Thank you.
     
  10. Pleistohorse

    Pleistohorse Well-Known Member

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    Several Days into our Northwest Roadtrip. We have visited the following zoos:

    Oregon Zoo. A very nice zoo. Elephant Exhibit (although very barren...I think Bronx Zoo has the best Asian Elephant Exhinit out there...at least for creating an illusion of the natural world for the visitor) and Lion Exhibit are both great. Disappointed that the Wolves and Elk are gone, but if the trade off was an improved Elephant Exhibit and California Condors...

    Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Near flawless. I'm not a fan of Safari Trams. Very knowledgable guide, but hard to photograph the animals. The offer photo tours throughout the year. I think the should expand these. I've never been to Disney's Animal Kingdom, The Wilds, or San Diego Wild Animal Park...but if they do as well as NWT...I look forward to my visits. European Zoo Chatters would best compare NWT with Safari Beekse Bergan for the bus/walking combo, although NWT's over all experience was very much along the lines of Han-Sur-Lesse.

    Woodland Park Zoo. Awesome. Bronx Zoo quality. Incredible Staff. Zoo exhibit viewing areas could get crowded, but we did visit mid-day on a Sunday...which is typically the last day/time I want to be at a big zoo. Missed the Pudu and Patas Monkeys...

    Point Defiance Zoo. Beautiful location. Enjoyed seeing Red Wolves. Missed the Anoa and Walrus. Clearly point defiance was cutting edge...in the early 1980's. Not to distract from the zoo. Again, alongside the other Washington Zoos...the staff were awesome. I'd say the aquariums really put this zoo in a class above its weight. I'm not an aquarium guy...but it reminded me a bit of the New England Aquarium in Boston (last visited in 1992) and that aquarium in its day was pretty much the standard...though that might be a New Englander's HUB-centric bias. In that time (aside from two in Japan) the only aquarium I've visited has been Mystic Aquarium (also a New England institution) and Waikiki Aquarium (which gets by on location, Monk Seals, and art-deco nostalgia) and the Alaska Sealife Center. We still might make Oregon Coast Aquarium.

    Wildlife Safari. Not bad. Beautiful setting. Kind of cheesy village area. Great staff. Best Bison and Zebra views I've ever had (outside of the wild). Not really a fan of the cats and bears being along the drive...but...maybe that's less stressful for the animals in a way?
    Great shots of Wild Turkeys. Can't argue with their breeding success with Cheetahs. Something they share with Fossil Rim I think. Overall I would rate Wildlife Safari up near the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch as a drive through experience. In some areas they clearly do much better than that beloved Texas park...but over all the Texans edge out the Oregonians. In truth I imagine a better comparison might be to Fossil Rim, which I have not visited. I might never visit WS again, but I'm not dissapointed we stopped in.

    We have spotted several species of birds not readily observed in Alaska.
    For Mammals we are doing pretty well:

    Eastern Grey Squirrel
    American Red Squirrel
    California Ground Squirrel (tentative id)
    Townsends Chipmunk (tentative id)
    Northern Raccoon
    North American Porcupine
    Virginia Opossum
    Eastern Cottontail Rabbit
    Colombian Blacktail Deer
    Signs of recent Mole activity...no moles though.
    American Black Bear...much larger than the average Black Bear I see in Alaska. My first impression was that it was too large to be a black bear. Four more days in the Redwoods and along the Oregon Coast to add to the total.
     
  11. Pleistohorse

    Pleistohorse Well-Known Member

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    Add Roosevelt Elk to the list of wild mammals spotted.

    Also visited the Sequioa Park Zoo. Delightful. Bush Dogs. Chacoan Peccaries. Indian Munjact. The world's tallest Holstien Cow at over six feet high at the withers. The best barn yard exhibit I've seen in a very long time. Northern Spotted Owl. Along with the Peccary...a first for me.

    Very much recommended this small zoo on California's Lost Coast.