November 17, 2011  9:17 AM

Zoo's animals to gobble up Thanksgiving 'Beast Feast'

bobcats and turkey The Oregon Zoo’s bobcats investigate a papier-mâché turkey stuffed with treats. Zoo animals will receive special treats and Thanksgiving-themed enrichment throughout the holiday weekend (Nov. 24-27). Photo by Julie Cudahy, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo.

Visitors can watch animals enjoy meals and holiday-themed treats during long holiday weekend

Leftovers, schmeftovers! Throughout the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, Oregon Zoo animals will gobble their way through their very own Beast Feast, a cornucopia of enrichment activities and treats aimed at stimulating their minds and stomachs.

From Nov. 24 through 27, visitors can watch animals dig into meals, special treats and some holiday-themed goodies. Activities will take place daily at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

  • Thursday, Nov. 24 – Black bears, hippos, elephants and tigers
  • Friday, Nov. 25 – Polar bears, lions and wild dogs, penguins and chimpanzees
  • Saturday, Nov. 26 – Sea otters, wolves, lions and orangutans
  • Sunday, Nov. 27 – Rhinos, elephants, cougars and lorikeets

"This is our way of giving thanks for the zoo’s visitors and animals," said zoo director Kim Smith. "Our Thanksgiving activities should be a nice treat for both. They’re also a good example of the zoo’s enrichment program, which is critical to our animals’ well-being."

The zoo uses enrichment to keep animals mentally and physically stimulated, and to encourage hunting and foraging behaviors. Treats are tailored to the needs of specific animals by the zoo’s volunteer enrichment team and keepers.

Another Thanksgiving Day event begins early Thursday, when the Oregon Zoo hosts the annual Turkey Trot, organized by the Oregon Road Runners Club. This event includes a four-mile fitness run and walk, starting at 8 a.m., followed by a half-mile "Tot Trot" at 9:30 a.m.

Learn more about the Oregon Zoo

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