Zoo offers free admission day on Saturday, Feb. 3

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Visitors are invited to enjoy zoo and help celebrate World Wetlands Day

Visitors to the Oregon Zoo will be treated to free admission on Saturday, Feb. 3, as the zoo celebrates World Wetlands Day. Guests can enjoy keeper talks and activities highlighting some of the many animals that depend on wetlands, such as river otters, crocodiles and flamingos.

"There's something irresistibly mysterious about wetlands," said Dr. Don Moore, zoo director. "And it's amazing to learn how important they really are. We have a full day of activities scheduled on Saturday, and we hope everyone who comes through the gates is inspired to help create a better future for wildlife."

Inside the zoo's Nature Exploration Station, biologists from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will lead wetlands-themed activities from noon to 3 p.m., and visitors can see young western pond turtles getting weighed at 1 p.m. as part of a collaborative recovery program to help this endangered Northwest species.

Other wetlands-related activities include the following:

· 10:45 a.m. - river otter activities in Cascade Marsh area
· 11:30 a.m. - crocodile feeding in Africa Rainforest area
· 12:30 p.m. - flamingo keeper talk in Africa Rainforest area
· 1:45 p.m. - beaver keeper talk in Cascade Marsh area
· 2:30 p.m. - duck talk in Cascade Marsh area

The official World Wetlands Day — commemorating the 1971 adoption of the Convention on Wetlands — is held each year on Feb. 2, but the zoo is holding its celebration on the weekend so more people are able to attend.

Zoo hours Saturday are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the usual weekend animal activities will also be taking place:

· 11:30 a.m. – sea otter feeding
· 12:30 p.m. – elephant activities at Forest Hall
· 12:45 p.m. – chimpanzee feeding
· 1 p.m. – reptile encounter at Family Farm
· 2 p.m. – orangutan feeding
· 2:15 p.m. – porcupine feeding
· 2:30 p.m. – penguin feeding
· 3 p.m. – bat feeding

"Community free days are typically busy ones for the zoo," Dr. Moore said. "One tip for making your visit more enjoyable is to ride MAX to the zoo. You avoid traffic, don't have to worry about parking — and the Washington Park stop lets you off just steps from the zoo entrance."

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