Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Urban Nature

Had a good day today at the Oregon Zoo and the Japanese Gardens.

The zoo seemed to be in off-season mode. A number of areas and exhibits were closed for construction and renovation. But there was still plenty to see. And off-season has the advantage of less crowds and more chances to observe in peace. I think it's great when kids go to the zoo, but sometimes the screaming hordes can be trying!

I spent some time watching the penguins - Humboldt penguins from Peru. They're so comical waddling around on the ground, and so fluid swimming underwater. They can swim incredibly fast. I guess that makes sense when you need to catch fish and evade predators.

If you're at the zoo (or even if you're not) it's worth visiting the Japanese Gardens. In the summer you can get there by taking the zoo train. Off-season you can take the bus or walk. I'd always taken the zoo train before and didn't realize how nice the walk is. The park is the Hoyt Arboretum and there are all kinds of trees. The flowering magnolias were fantastic. The trails can be confusing but there are maps every so often and people are quite helpful. (The trails connect to Forest Park and go for miles if you want a longer walk or run.)

I find the Japanese Gardens very peaceful and meditative. Bit it's hard to capture with photographs.

The rose gardens are also close by, and worth a visit if they're flowering.

To get to the zoo the Max light rail goes right from downtown to the zoo entrance. The zoo is outside the free rail area so you need to buy a ticket. The easiest option is the day pass for $4.95 which you can get from the machines at the Max stops.

Between the zoo and the gardens and the walk in between, this is a very pleasant way to spend a day.

No comments:

Post a Comment