In 1887, Richard Knight, a local pharmacist who collected animals as a hobby, officially presented his menagerie to the city and the oldest zoo west of the Mississippi was created. The Oregon Zoo is home to animals from all corners of the world, including Asian elephants, Peruvian penguins and Arctic polar bears. From the mist-filled Africa Rain Forest to the majestic Great Northwest exhibits, the zoo encourages visitors to understand and experience the natural world. Committed to conservation of endangered species and their habitats—both locally and around the globe—the zoo is a center for wildlife preservation and field research. The Oregon Zoo’s award-winning education programs serve nearly 700,000 people both at the zoo and at schools, senior and community centers around the region. A summer concert series, seasonal events and the zoo railway help this popular Oregon attraction draw more than one million visitors each year. The Oregon Zoo is all of this, but it is also a safe place for families to share moments of discovery and fun. The zoo is committed to providing the best possible facility for its animals as well as the community. A comprehensive plan, "A Great Zoo: Framework for the Future," examines the entire zoo, and incorporates the vision, "Caring Now for the Future of Life," into each department's goals for the next 25 years and beyond. The building master plan balances animals, natural habitats, native culture, technology, plantings, and innovative architecture. As always, the zoo will continue to be a source of discovery and fun that allows visitors to understand and experience the natural world and our place in it.