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Nature & Wildlife

Top Rated Attractions in Portland

Search Radius (Miles)
Wildwood Trail

This 24.5-mile (39.5 kilometer) trail leads you through the city. Starting at the World Forestry Center, the trail strings together some of Portland's best nature attractions, Hoyt Arboretum, the Audubon Society and Forest Park. The terrain depends on what portion of the trail you tackle, from the very hilly area of Washington Park to the more gradual ten northern-most miles of the trail. Maps are available at the trail head. For outdoor lovers, a hike along these trail comes most recommended, as you are sure to capture scenic vistas along with occasional encounters of exotic plants and birds.

Forest Park

An oasis of greenery in the scenic environs of Northwest Portland, this municipal park's topography is defined by the slopes and opaque old-growth forests that are sustained by the Tualatin Mountains. A large establishment as far as urban parks go, these protected lands are spread over 5,100 acres (2,064 hectares) that are dotted with relatively-even pathways and trails for hiking and bicycling, which make virtually every nook and corner of the park easily-accessible. A landscape of diverse and complex ecosystems, these forests are home to the hairy woodpecker, Pacific jumping mouse, orange-crowned warbler, northern pygmy-owl among many others. A paradise for plant lovers, the park grounds are bejeweled with exotic Hooker's fairy bells, evergreen violets and English ivy.

Oregon Zoo

The Oregon Zoo houses animals from all parts of the world. Spread over 64 acres of land, there's always something to see. Here one can observe animals in their natural habitats, including elephants, bears, penguins and monkeys. Hop aboard the train for a zoo tour or rent a special stroller wagon for the kids. After a busy day of animal watching, enjoy a waffle ice cream cone from the snack bar, dine at the on site cafe or enjoy a picnic lunch on the lawn.

Portland Japanese Garden

Portland Japanese Garden includes waterfalls, koi filled ponds, a wisteria arbor and even a tea-house that was built in Japan with ancient construction techniques. It features five unique gardens. The Strolling Pond contains the five-tiered stone pagoda lantern given to Portland in 1963 by Sapporo, Portland's sister city in Japan. Many events are observed in the gardens, including Children's Day, the Tanabata Star Festival and the Obon Spirit Festival. Garden curators also offer classes in Japanese culture and gardening techniques.

Mt Tabor Park

A serene sanctum lying to the east of downtown Portland, this picturesque city park is unusual in more ways than one. Built on the grounds of an old volcanic cone, the park is a natural wonderland where trails and paved pathways wind through rolling meadows and dense forests. The park is also home to an amphitheater, a dog park, a horseshoe pit and courts used for various other sports. A delight for the avid hiker, Mount Tabor affords splendid views of the city's diverse landscape. Although much of the volcano's cinder cone has been paved, a part of it still remains, letting visitors in on the long-standing history and geological marvel it cradles in its depths.

The Grotto

For more than 75 years, The Grotto has held a special place in the hearts of the locals. The 62-acre (25.09 hectares) site is a Catholic sanctuary that also features beautifully kept botanical gardens. Visit the shrine of "Our Lady's Grotto," which is not only spiritual, but a geological marvel since it's a cave carved into the base of a cliff with a replica of the Pietà sculpture in the center of the rock cave. After admiring the shrine, take the time to tour the grounds and marvel at the beautiful plants then visit the spectacular gift shop. Visitors are also welcome to attend mass. If you want a real treat visit during annual Festival of Lights. While the lower grounds and gift shop are free to visit, there is a small fee to enter the upper levels of The Grotto.

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