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‘Bike for Bears’ and get free admission to Oregon Zoo on Saturday

Posted by on June 19th, 2008 at 10:23 am

Pedal for the polar bears!
(Photo: Oregon Zoo)

In an effort to bring attention to the plight of polar bears, the Oregon Zoo is offering free admission this Saturday to anyone who arrives by bike.

Their second annual “Bike for Bears” event will also offer $2 valet bike parking — with all the money going toward bear conservation projects.

“Biking means I get some exercise, everyone else in the region gets cleaner air and polar bears get a bit more of the ice they need for
— Metro Councilor Robert Liberty

Steve Hash is one of the Zoo’s animal keepers (and a regular BikePortland.org reader). He says the bike theme of the day goes beyond free admission and valet parking.

From 10-11am on Saturday morning, they’ll be giving the zoo’s polar bears fun treats and toys, including faux bikes with tires made from barrels. The bears will also enjoy an artist’s illustration of a bike drawn on the window of the their exhibit, and Hash says, “It will be drawn with cream cheese, which is one of their favorite foods.”

Oregon Zoo director Tony Vecchio hopes the event gets more people to “connect with the bears in a way that inspires a desire to help them… People must care about an issue before they’ll be moved to act.”

Metro Councilor Robert Liberty (Metro owns the Oregon Zoo) — a regular bike commuter himself — points out the connection between biking and polar bears: “Biking means I get some exercise, everyone else in the region gets cleaner air and polar bears get a bit more of the ice they need for

Biking to the Zoo is easy. You can either climb up the quiet roads or take the MAX.

More information on the Bike for Bears event at OregonZoo.org.

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  • gabriel amadeus June 19, 2008 at 11:10 am

    dammit, if only this was a day later on the Zoobomb Century….

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  • Steve June 19, 2008 at 11:14 am


    Thanks for the write-up. We look forward to seeing an entry plaza full of bikes !!! It should be clarified that free admission is available from 10a-2p only (you can stay as long as you like, of course) and Oregon zookeepers will be staffing the bike parking from 10a until the last bike leaves.

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  • Bike Bat - Carye Bye June 19, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    I was at the zoo last week for $2 Tuesday with my girlffriend specifically to visit the bats and the Elephant Museum.

    Unfortunately on the way we got sidetracked, and went to see the NW animal exhibit (because we recently were on a bike-camping trip and had a wild-animal scare and wanted to educate ourselves).

    Ack! We were horrified how little room all the animals had to live in. The poor bears especially had it bad.

    For such a forward thinking city of Portland, we found ourselves really upset and disgusted that the zoo has so many animals crammed into such a tiny place.

    So sure you can bike for the bears, and free is a great price, but man, I don\’t know what\’s worse, polar bears losing their true home, or seeing them locked up in a tiny foreign environment. I don\’t believe you need to see a real polar bear to learn something, or to act.

    I know zoos do some good work to help animals, but overall I did not see my experience showing all that much education and all that much benefit to either animals or people.

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  • Kronda June 19, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    \”Biking to the Zoo is easy.\”

    What bike are you riding and where can I get one? 🙂

    I think that must be a typo and it should say, \”Biking *from* the Zoo is easy.\” I do love a good Zoo-bomb. 🙂

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  • Steve June 19, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Bike Bat- Carye Bye

    Let me assure you that we at the zoo share a lot of the same misgivings about the animals we care for. As a member of the animal care staff, I take great pride in working hard to provide the animals with an enriched environment. I am sorry that your experience was unpleasant and encourage you to submit detailed concerns to zoo management.

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  • a.O June 19, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Yeah, you want to do something nice for the polar bears – set them free!! Or better yet, close the zoo!! Just think about how much less carbon would be in the air if people weren\’t driving to the zoo to look at animals. Animals don\’t belong in cages for humans to gawk at.

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  • Matthew Denton June 19, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    While I\’ve got problems with wild animals in captivity as much as the next guy, I do think that the zoo serves an important purpose: To educate people about animals. If people don\’t know about them, it is much harder to get people to protect them…

    And I\’m really impressed with our polar bears. A lot of zoo\’s (San Fransisco, San Diego,) polar bears are slightly green, they seem to be growing something (algae?) in their hair and I doubt that it is healthy. Ours are white.

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  • chuck June 20, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    polar bears are the new fixed gear.

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  • Rebecca James June 20, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    I don\’t have much respect for the Portland Zoo and am very disappointed at the conditions under which the animals are forced to live. All of you cyclists who do go to the zoo — take a close look at the animals, look at their faces, imagine what their daily life is like being pulled out of their natural habitat and forced into tightly constrained spaces. Look at the faces of the bears, in particular, and write down what you see.

    As a member of the bike community, the Portland Zoo doesn\’t get my support. Thumbs down.

    As for \”Steve\” and his response.. I\’m not convinced Steve, how does it make you feel to work for a zoo which doesn\’t have the best interest of the animals in mind? Don\’t answer to me, answer to yourself before you go to sleep at night.

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