19 thoughts on “Washington Park Zoo, 1963

  1. No DC-3 at OMSI yet in this photo. Also no jet fighter on a stand out front at OMSI yet. There is a plane at OMSI to the right of OMSI there but can’t tell what it is.

  2. That aircraft is an F-89 Scorpion. It’s armament was 144 rockets carried in 2 pods on the outer wings. The husband of my 5th grade teacher at Jesse Applegate flew them for the ANG.

  3. The old elephant barn is visible at the top of the picture. Demolition was just completed last week as part of the new Elephant Lands exhibit.

  4. I see that strange diving bell thing is there. Near where the aircraft would later go. Does anyone else remember that thing? I remember climbing around in that as a young kid. It was orange with a bunch of crazy rusty pipes and equipment inside. I have a picture of me with my head sticking out of it. You could climb around in its rusty interior to your hearts content. Would never be allowed now.
    Looking at Google, it looks like all of that stuff is gone now.

  5. I was there for my 4th Birthday in 1962 to see Packy the Elephant, and I remember the merry go round being there then.

  6. Love the grassed ‘lawn clock’ out front. Probably a spin off from Disneyland. I could have been there with my family in front of the penguin exhibit on this day!πŸ˜‰

  7. I recall the diving bell, just sitting out front of the building with no sign or anything for what it was used for, or why it was there. That was okay with an 8 year old though. OMSI was about as cool a school field trip as you could get!

  8. Yes, I don’t recall ever seeing a sign on it either.
    Also, i seem to remember you could go inside the DC-3 plane at some point. I can’t remember if you could play with the controls, but i think the rear part of the plane was blocked off.

  9. I can only remember one visit to the Zoo as a young child, in about 1970 or thereabouts. I remember some of the exhibits being quite colorful and including poured and cast concrete mod design features. Other zoo memories include being envious of the monkey house jungle gyms and being scared that the giraffe would mistake my hair for food (you could feed the animals at that time).

    I was more an OMSI kid. We went every year. OMSI memories include:

    The fighter jet and DC-3,
    Giant walk-through heart,
    Cigarette damaged lungs and whale lung exhibits,
    A display of oddities (i.e. a stuffed two-headed calf (or lamb) and photos of a Oregon girls who were conjoined twins,
    The Planetarium,
    Chicken egg incubator and hatchery,
    Transparent bee hive with tube entrance leading outside,
    Animal and lizard exhibits,
    The Gravitron (a Rube Goldberg device for moving large ball bearings (or steelies),
    The World Clock (a giant pendulum that toppled small cylinders at the end of either swing, a swing that was determined by the spin of the Earth on its axis),
    The mechanical sciences exhibits (featuring magnets, and mechanics of physics),
    The spirograph machine,
    A telephonic exhibit in which you spoke into a headset while reading a passage and your voice was transmitted back slightly delayed. It was difficult to keep speaking coherently under these circumstances.
    Early, early, early computer chip displays.

    Anybody else have favorite memories?

  10. Jim,
    Boy, I had forgot about a lot of that stuff.
    I remember the lungs were hooked to a tube. You could push a button and a pump would come on and they would expand. The healthy one expanded more of course.
    The bee hive was very cool. I had completely forgotten that.
    The big walk through heart was kind of scary, but still very cool.
    Don’t forget the “visible woman” show. I think t was downstairs. Watch the organs light up.
    A little later they had the Votrax machine. You pressed letters and it would speak in a computer voice. Of course, someone always left it saying bad wordsπŸ™‚

  11. Jim, don’t forget about the bridge of the tug Sam Diack and the periscope. Since we lived only a half a mile away at Sylvan, we would go to OMSI at least 5 or 6 times every summer. We had that place memorized. My sister’s first job was there. She got to feed mice to the snakes, and would rescue chicks out of the pockets of little kids who would try to take them home. I loved the rock and mineral room where you could push a button that activated a black light and the stones would glow. And of course there was the planetarium in its cool green and blue geodetic dome.

  12. i remember an audio device that would get higher in pitch until you couldn’t hear it. At one point on the decibal scale it said “Omsi’s director loses it here”

  13. The “new” zoo…more than anything, I remember cement structures…lots and lots of painted cement “cages”…rather depressing when ya think about it now…but I still do have happy thoughts though…we were so proud about Packy…and, even after all these years, I still have my yellow “zoo key”……”All the animals in the zoo, are jumping up and down for you…hoping that you’ll sure to plan…to visit the zoo whenever you can. Storybooks that really talk, you turn on with a key…tell fascinating things about the animals you see. Storybooks and Zoo keys, together guide you through…a world of new excitement…awaits you at the zoo!” πŸ™‚

  14. Another F-89 was (at some point) on a plinth behind OMSI visible from the road from HWY 26 – the second was stored next to OMSI for several years. They were sold in the mid 80s to a collector in the Vancouver area, and the tail from one was subsequently purchased by the owner, Tiger Warren, of Macheesmo Mouse and suspended in the back seating area of their downtown location (on Salmon off Broadway). There is (still?) an F-89 at the airbase, too, on display. I was at the Children’s Museaum today with my son, and the memories came flooding back. The pendulum and the visible woman show were two of my favorites when I was a kid.

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