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Penguins of Peninsula Park Virtual Cache

Hidden : 08/24/2017
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Size: Size:   virtual (virtual)

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Geocache Description:

The best time to visit the park is mid day. Tour around the rose garden smelling flowers enjoy a walk through a beautiful historical park or play on the swings and imagine what it must have been like to see real penguins for your very first time!

Peninsula Park CC Pool, Portland Archives, A2004-002.956

Peninsula Park has a very long rich history. It was identified in plans for the city by the Ohnsted Brothers in 1903. The park was later designed by architects Ellis Lawrence and Onnond R. Bean. It was then developed in 1912 as a part of Portland’s City Beautiful Movement. The formal rose garden in the south portion of the park was designed by the famous landscape architect Emanuel L. Mische. It was Portland's first public rose garden and was where all the rose festival activities had taken place, before they were moved across the river.

Overlooking the rose garden is an octagonal bandstand that was constructed in 1913. The bandstand is a National Heritage historical structure and was designated a Portland Historic Landmark in 1973. It is the last of its kind in the city. The community center, at the north end of the park, is Portland’s oldest community center. Built in 1913, the community center at Peninsula Park is also the first community center in the Portland Parks System.

What many people might not know about this park is that the community center's pool was once a temporary home for some 47 penguins, in late 1957 - early 1958. A small colony of penguins (Emperors and Adelies) were brought to Portland and were scheduled to make their debut at the Portland Zoo. Unfortunately, the zoo’s penguin facilities were not yet finished. Peninsula Park Pool was then partially drained and used to house the penguins, until their new home in the zoo was ready. During their stay, a mysterious illness fell upon the penguins, threatening to wipe out the entire colony. Inside the community center there are still some reminders of the penguins stay!

I encourage you to please read more about the penguins history, provided below.

This cache complies with the geocaching policies for Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) properties. Please respect park hours when caching.

Logging Requirement:

I am going to make getting the logging info easy, so you do not need to worry about the hours for the community center. At the posted coordinates you will find a water fountain with a name inscribed on it vertically. Send me the name and tell me how many "silver" bolts are used to hold the fountain in place. This part is required.

You can score bonus points if you tell me what kind of penguin, the statute is, by the desk inside the community center. (This part is not required)

Email or Message me the following information.
Date found:
Geocaching Name:
Info you found on site:

Photographs of your favorite part of the park are encouraged, hand drawn pictures of penguins would be awesome, but neither are required for logging.

Please send the required info, same day as logging. Please DO NOT post a photo, post a drawing or mention the "required" information found on site in your log. I really would hate to have to delete your log if you do! A picture of the bonus information is okay.

Virtual Reward - 2017/2018

This Virtual Cache is part of a limited release of Virtuals created between August 24, 2017 and August 24, 2018. Only 4,000 cache owners were given the opportunity to hide a Virtual Cache. Learn more about Virtual Rewards on the Geocaching Blog.

More about the Penguins of Peninsula Park...

In 1957 the penguins arrived and the construction contracts for the new zoo were all behind schedule. The Penguin’s new home at the zoo was not ready for the penguins to move into until May of 1958. It was during this time that 47 Emperor and Adelie penguins were housed in the pool at Peninsula Park. While at the pool the public's curiosity and interest in the penguins was at a fever pitch. There were long lines to see the penguins housed at the pool in the park. On opening day to the public, official attendance count had passed 10,000 people by 6 pm. Many people were delighted to see the penguins for the first time and were excited they had been brought to Portland.

It was over the course of the penguins' stay at the pool that 18 penguins had died. At the time, it was a mysterious illness. Experts in diseases of penguins from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Md. rushed to Portland in early January to help. It was the "Father of Interventional Radiology," Charles T. Dotter, a radiologist in Portland, who discovered what the penguins were dying from; aspergillosis, a lung fungus. He discovered this after he and his staff successfully x-rayed a penguin, for what was believed to be the first time ever done.

A tank car of sea water was sent from Astoria for the birds. They received proper nursing care, feeding to build up their resistance and an administration of vitamins and drugs that were rushed to Portland by air. After keeping the penguins quiet and undisturbed, like human patients, the remaining 29 Penguins survived.

What many may not know about these penguins is that one lucky penguin patient was brought home to be cared for and how some had escaped at the hospital. Here are some amusing excerpts from Karen Peterson, a writer for OHSU Historical Collections & Archives and from an interview with former Director of Public Relations and Assistant Dean Joe Adams of OHSU, being interviewed by Joan Ash (shown respectively).

Hector spends the holidays at Charlie's house...

Charlie took the first x-rays of the birds in the fight to save them. Why Charlie got involved is a question not yet answered but he did. He asked Jack Marks, Zoo Director, if he could have the bodies of those already dead for the purpose of autopsy. A body was delivered to the medical school on New Years Eve along with another ailing bird not long for this world.

Charlie was ready to close his office for the holiday but couldn't bring himself to lock up, leaving the ailing bird - now known as Hector - to suffer alone. He took him home. New Years day, Charlie and Zoo veterinarian, Dr. Clifford Bjork, gave Hector his first injection of a new antibiotic. Along with a very understanding and sympathetic Mrs. Dotter, Charlie gave Hector his vitamins and herring each day.

Hector recovered and did not show any symptoms of his disease but it was not determined whether he would carry the disease back to the flock. Hector enjoyed the hospitality shown him by the Dotters. In fact, Charlie proclaimed Hector, "a darned fine patient". And the Dotters had only one complaint regarding their holiday house guest: Hector was not yet house trained!

The Great Escape...

[Laughing] There were things like that that. I’ll never forget the time I got a call from the Medical School—we called it the teaching hospital, on the ninth floor.
“Mr. Adams?”
“You’ve got to get over here. We’ve got penguins everywhere.”
So I go over there, and here are about five or six of these massive penguins from the zoo! Charlie Dotter had been called by the zoo because the penguins were dying, so they shipped some penguins over here to have them taken upstairs and x-ray them.

The penguins escaped on the ninth floor of the hospital, and patients—all these visitors are—God, there are these damn big birds. Emperor penguins, they’re big. And they were struggling and they were tussling with them and getting them down.

Well, I went over there, and they were crapping all over the floor. It was really bad [laughter]. So we finally got them to x-ray, and he made the right diagnosis. They had aspergillosis, which is some obscure lung disease, and they were dying. Charlie, he was a smart guy. He made the diagnosis. But I’ll never forget that day. Oh, the dang penguins running around.[Laughing]

Slap PenguinWay to GO Warnock3d on the FTF!

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References and photo contributors:

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Jnqqyr bire gb gur jngre sbhagnva.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)