Trick-or-treaters can go on scavenger hunt to learn about wildlife, collect goodies
Trick-or-treaters can fill their bags with goodies and learn about wildlife Oct. 31, during Howloween at the Oregon Zoo. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is free with zoo admission.
In keeping with the zoo's mission, Howloween aims to be educational as well as fun. Scavenger hunts and activities are themed to teach kids about animals around the world, and their habitats and adaptations. Kids can collect treats and prizes at the different stations, provided in part by FedEx Ground and Safe Kids, KIND Snacks and Glee Gum. Because our everyday actions impact wildlife, the zoo only chooses candy without palm oil, or with deforestation-free palm oil.
Throughout the day, visitors can watch the zoo's enrichment team provide animals with holiday-themed treats like jack-o'-lanterns stuffed with snacks. Enrichment items, such as a passel of pumpkins provided by Al's Garden Center, help keep the zoo's animals mentally and physically engaged.
Guests can also say happy birthday to the zoo's Amur tiger, Mikhail, born on Halloween in 1998. Mikhail, looking appropriate for the season in his customary orange and black stripes, will receive holiday-themed enrichment items designed to encourage his natural behaviors. This is especially important, keepers say, to help keep the 320-pound cat active as he ages.
"Mik's definitely getting up there in years," said animal curator Amy Cutting, who oversees the zoo's tiger area. "The median life expectancy for male Amur tigers is 16, and Mik's a year past that now, so he's considered elderly. But thankfully he's still healthy, and our keepers work hard to make sure he stays active and engaged."
Cutting notes that while Mikhail is doing well, his wild counterparts are imperiled by habitat loss and poaching: Fewer than 500 are believed to remain in their home range. The Amur tiger species derives its name from the Amur River, which runs through the region of southeast Russia to which this subspecies is native.
The Oregon 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 and Oregon spotted frogs. 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.
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