Zoo welcomes summer with new otter, special programs

Playful pup Juno is ready for her public debut at Oregon Zoo's Steller Cove

Summer officially starts this weekend, and the Oregon Zoo will usher in the season with frisky new otter pup and a host of seasonal special events.

Juno, the rescued sea otter who has been settling in behind the scenes this past month, had her first meet-up with one of the zoo's two elderly otters Monday. The playful 5-month-old and the 16-year-old Thelma got along so swimmingly that they will now be out together for portions of the day. This weekend, visitors can see them in the zoo's Steller Cove habitat from around 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In addition to getting acquainted with Juno, zoo visitors will be treated to a summer chock full of events, shows and happenings.

Keeper talks, feedings and activities take place daily through Sept. 2 as follows:

  • 10:45 a.m. - cougars
  • 11 a.m. - Predators of the Serengeti
  • 11:30 a.m. - Asian elephants
  • 1 p.m. - Red Ape Reserve
  • 1:30 p.m. - polar bears
  • 2:15 p.m. - penguins
  • 2:30 p.m. - sea otters
  • 3 p.m. - bats

The zoo's summer concert series kicks off with country superstar Merle Haggard on June 21 and winds up with a double shot of Pink Martini in early September. Along the way, concertgoers can catch the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Amos Lee, Lucinda Williams, Pat Benatar, Huey Lewis and the News and more. Oregon Zoo Summer Concerts are presented by Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, the Oregon College Savings Plan and Banfield Pet Hospital, with media support from KINK.fm. For information and a full schedule, visit zooconcerts.com.

Beginning June 23, the zoo's popular Wild Life Live program, presented by Portland General Electric, returns with a new look. This year, visitors will get a chance to meet the animals up-close on the concert lawn, giving the birds a break from flying during zoo construction. Demonstrations take place daily at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m., except on concert days.

The Insect Zoo, staffed during the summer by ZooTeen volunteers, showcases invertebrates from far-off lands as well as bugs that share our own backyards. ZooTeens also will be staffing the zoo's Family Farm, where visitors of all ages can have hands-on experience with pygora goats and a variety of small animals from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

On July 19, zoo supporters can spend a wild evening under the stars — sipping complimentary wine and beer, savoring small plates from the region's best restaurants and supporting endangered species — as the Oregon Zoo Foundation hosts its 15th annual Zoolala benefit, presented by Spirit Mountain Casino with support from NW Natural and the region's top community-minded organizations and individuals. For more information, visit oregonzoo.org/zoolala.