Animals get treats, visitors get discount on Valentine’s Day at Oregon Zoo

February 9, 2012 - 12:28pm

Zookeepers show their love with valentines for elephants, leopards, lions and orangutans 

Whether you’re looking for a cheap date or a fun family outing, the Oregon Zoo has you covered on Valentine’s Day. The Feb. 14 holiday coincides this year with the zoo’s popular Second Tuesday program – which offers visitors a reduced admission price of $4.

Animals will feel the love too, as keepers present them with themed enrichment treats throughout the day.

At 10:30 a.m., Asian elephant parents-to-be Tusko and Rose-Tu go on a “date”; visitors can wish them well from the viewing area overlooking the back yard of the zoo’s Asian elephant exhibit. Kia, an Amur leopard, joins the fun at 11:30 a.m., with some cardboard valentines and lickable treats on the window of her habitat. At 1 p.m., African lions Neka, Kya and Zawadi Mungu will get some heart-shaped ice treats at the zoo’s Predators of the Serengeti exhibit. And, at 2:30 p.m., orangutans Inji and Kutai receive candy-shaped enrichment items.

This is the 12th year special Valentine’s enrichment treats have been given to Oregon Zoo animals. The zoo is internationally renowned for its enrichment programs, which mentally stimulate the animals and provide them with the opportunity to play, hunt and forage.

The zoo’s popular Second Tuesday admission-discount program, sponsored by the Walmart Foundation, offers a reduced admission price of $4 on the second Tuesday of each month, a discount of nearly 65 percent from regular zoo admission. As always, children 2 and younger are admitted free.

Kids 7 to 13 can celebrate Valentine’s Day early and bring their sleeping bags to a special “I love the zoo” overnight camp on Feb. 12. The camp runs from 5 p.m. Saturday to 9:30 a.m. Sunday, and features guided tours, animal visitors and a chance to go behind-the-scenes. Cost is $48, which includes dinner, an evening snack and continental breakfast.