Zoo shindig planned for Ore. elephant's 50th B-day

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Sure Seattle's Space Needle is turning 50 this year, but for folks who lived in Portland, a signature event of 1962 was the birth of Packy the elephant at the Oregon Zoo.

The zoo is planning a big party this Saturday to celebrate the event, complete with cake -- for people and the birthday boy -- music, games and even a "Packy Poetry" contest.

When he was born to Belle on April 14, 1962, the zoo says Packy was the first Asian elephant to be born in the Western hemisphere in 44 years.

Weighing in at a relatively cuddly 225 pounds at birth, Packy now tips the scales at 12,500 pounds. He stands more than 10 feet tall and has sired seven calves of his own.

The Oregon Zoo is designing a new Asian elephant habitat that will give the animals more choices about where and how they spend their time.