Zoo teams up with Safe Kids Portland Metro to educate kids, families on safe play
Sunshine, smiles, snacks and swimming are a few of many words starting with “s” that summer brings to mind. The Oregon Zoo and Safe Kids Portland Metro want to add safety to that list. On May 5, Oregon Safe Kids Day at the zoo will provide parents, caregivers and children the opportunity to learn about safety through interactive exhibits, prizes, safety tips and hands-on activities.
“Oregon is famous for its summer recreational opportunities, and we want children to have a safe and active summer,” said Krista Swan, zoo event coordinator. “We’re partnering with our local Safe Kids coalition again this year because they present critical childhood safety information in a way that is fun and engaging for the kids.”
This year’s theme is “Play Safe, Ride Safe, Be Safe.” Exhibits and activities will focus on taking simple steps to prevent injuries this summer, like wearing bicycle helmets and life jackets, and emphasizing the need for constant supervision of children around water.
A dozen safety stations around the zoo will comprise a “safety safari.” Stations will provide tips on water, poison, transportation, helmet and fire safety. Everyone who completes the safari will receive a safety-related prize.
At the water safety station, kids will learn the importance of wearing life jackets around rivers and streams. Ocean safety will also be touched upon, as kids learn about the dangers of sneaker waves and logs, and why they should always keep an eye on the ocean.
Each summer, more than 2,500 children across the U.S. die from preventable injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes, drowning, bike crashes, pedestrian incidents, falls and other hazards. These tragedies peak during the summer when children are often under less supervision, have more free time and engage in more outdoor activities.
Oregon Safe Kids Day at the zoo takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is free with regular zoo admission.
Safe Kids Portland Metro — a local coalition of more than 20 injury-prevention partners led by American Medical Response — is part of Safe Kids USA, which is dedicated to the prevention of unintentional childhood injury. Communities throughout Oregon have planned safety events during the spring and summer. For more information about the Safe Kids program, visit www.safekidsoregon.org. Parents can also sign up for monthly safely updates at www.safekids.org/parents.
Safe Kids Portland Metro has been helping kids in Portland for the past 18 years. Coalition partners include: American Medical Response, Portland Fire Bureau, ACTS Oregon, Clackamas County Safe Communities, ODOT, Oregon Poison Center, Legacy Health Systems, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Oregon Health Authority, and area fire and police departments. Locally, AMR provides ambulance services in Multnomah, Clackamas and Clark counties. AMR and its predecessor companies have served Portland area communities since 1913.
The zoo is a service of Metro and is dedicated to its mission of inspiring the community to create a better future for wildlife. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, western pond turtles, Oregon spotted frogs and Kincaid’s lupine. Other projects include studies on black rhinos, Asian elephants, polar bears and bats.
The zoo relies in part on community support through donations to the Oregon Zoo Foundation to undertake these and many other animal welfare, education and sustainability programs. The zoo is located five minutes from downtown Portland, just off Highway 26 at exit 72. The zoo is also accessible by MAX light rail line. Visitors who travel to the zoo via MAX receive $1.50 off zoo admission. Find fare and route information online or by calling TriMet Customer Service at 503-238-RIDE (7433).
General zoo admission is $10.50 (ages 12-64), $9 for seniors (65 and up), $7.50 for children (ages 3-11) and free for those 2 and younger; 25 cents of the admission price helps fund regional conservation projects through the zoo’s Future for Wildlife program. A parking fee of $4 per car is also required. Additional information is available by calling 503-226-1561.