Oregon Zoo seeks photos (of photos) for 125th Anniversary


Portland’s community zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the country, turns 125 in November

Got any old zoo photos? As its 125th anniversary approaches, the Oregon Zoo is seeking help in tracking down and sharing memories from throughout its history — and the older, the better, zoo officials say.

"It's amazing to think about," said Kim Smith, zoo director. "On Nov. 7, 1888, when this community zoo was founded, there were no cars, no planes, no TV, no radio. But there were cameras — the first Kodaks actually came out that same year. We're not expecting to see any pictures quite that old, but we'd love to see what zoo experiences people might have saved on film over the past 125 years."

Here's how to participate:

  1. Find any photo taken at the zoo (of yourself, family and friends, Oregon Zoo animals, Oregon Zoo landmarks, etc.) — or find a piece of Oregon Zoo memorabilia (ZooKey, mug, Packy ears, map, etc.).
  2. Take a picture of your picture — or a picture of your memorabilia — and upload it to the zoo's Facebook page, or to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #zoo125.
  3. Vote on your favorites, and get your friends to vote.

The photo with the most votes will be featured in an exhibit at the Oregon Historical Society this fall, tracing the zoo's progress from a small collection of exotic animals at a downtown pharmacy to a national leader in conservation, education and animal welfare.

In addition, the zoo will select 125 winning photos based on originality, historical value and the number of votes received. Each winner will get a stainless steel water bottle commemorating the zoo's 125th anniversary.

Photos may be submitted through noon on Tuesday, June 11.

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.

Media contact: 

Hova Najarian | 503-220-5714 | hova.najarian@oregonzoo.org