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Oregon’s zoos, aquariums and refuges are terrific places for the young and young-at-heart to commune with their feathered, furry and scaled friends. Among the most popular destinations:
This 600-acre park allows the animals to roam. Visitors can drive by African elephants, wolves and other large animals, or take a walking tour in an area for smaller animals.
Considered to be one of the oldest operating aquariums on the West Coast, the Seaside Aquarium hosts 100 species of marine life.
The museum and aquarium provide information and interaction with coastline organisms and display full-size skeletons of even the largest creatures, including a toothed whale orca and gray whale.
Located on the Yaquina Bay in Newport, the Oregon Coast Aquarium is a internationally-recognized world-class aquarium. Schedule plenty of time to see it all – Giant Pacific Octopus, Swampland, Sandy Shores, Seals and Sea Lions, Passages of the Deep, Coastal Waters, Sea Otters, and Rocky Shores.
The coastal aquarium strives to be an educational resource and "living classroom" for those who stroll through the wonderful variety of exhibits. For an extra-special experience, join in the Animal Encounter tour to feel an octopus's tentacle or to have a sea lion give you a smooch.
Opened in 1888, the Oregon Zoo is home to nearly 2,200 animals across 260 species. A top area destination for families and animal lovers, the Oregon Zoo is just west of downtown Portland and easily accessed via SR 26.
Due to its location within Portland's Washington Park, the zoo is also often referred to as the Portland Zoo or the Washington Park Zoo. Check out top exhibits at the Oregon Zoo like the Amazon Flooded Forest, Predators of the Serengeti, and the Great Northwest's Black Bear Ridge.
Founded in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is located in eastern Oregon on the southern shore of Malheur Lake.
Set approximately 30 miles south of Hines, the refuge is open daily from sunrise to dusk.
Visitors of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge can look forward to wildlife viewing along the Donner and Blitzen River as the refuge is home to 58 mammal species, and 320 bird species.
Guests can also check out the Visitor Center at Refuge Headquarters, and the Refuge Museum.
On your next trek through Oregon, head for the central coast and check out the Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge. A major attraction for outdoor enthusiasts visiting Lincoln City, the wildlife refuge is home to a wide range of native and exotic animals – from reptiles to water fowl, you'll find it at Siletz Bay.
For the adventurous traveler, enjoy a day on the water when you Paddle the Refuge, a guided tour of the bay with a ranger. Many visitors to refuge area are hunters – you'll find a wide variety of ducks, geese, and coots to hunt throughout the given seasons. There are also several paths for hikes and nature walks.