Last weekend I visited Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, home to 1,100 animal ambassadors from around the world, representing nearly 300 different species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates.
My boyfriend and I spent only 3 hours at the zoo, and we could’ve easily spent the whole day there since it is so big! The park sits on 92 acres of land which covers all the exhibits and plant life, open recreational areas, Zoomazium Playspace, food trucks and even a carousel.
Plan on spending at least 4 – 5 hours there, pack a picnic lunch and bring water since all the walking will make you hungry and thirsty! Food, beverages and ice cream are available to purchase at multiple locations inside the park, however the food can be a little spendy and limited in variety. Plus, packing a lunch allows you to invest in ice cream, which will look a lot more tempting than usual!
Remember to wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers. Seattle weather can be unpredictable and many exhibits are outdoors. There are strollers, wagons and wheelchairs available for rent. See website for more information.
To make sure you don’t miss out on any of the cool exhibits, I recommend arriving at noon, as that seems to be when the animals eat lunch and are the most active. Upon arriving, you will receive a park map and you’ll notice that all the exhibits are organized by habitat: Temperate Forest, African Savanna, Tropical Rainforest, Tropical Asia, Australasia and the Northern Trail. There is also a mobile app you can download for free that is GPS-enabled, features a schedule of the day’s activities, animal fact sheets and pictures.
The jaguar cubs are what inspired me to visit the zoo in the first place. The zoo is now offering a free, daily viewing exhibit from 9:30 – 4pm of their 3 jaguar cubs, 2 female and 1 male, born March of this year. When I visited there was a line for the viewing, so I recommend going early to avoid any lines.
This was my personal favorite exhibit. Penguins are very social animals and are very entertaining and relaxing to watch waddling around and sailing through the water. We were also lucky enough to stumble upon the exhibit during feeding time. The penguins are relatively polite and wait their turn to be hand-fed as the zookeeper calls them by name and hands them a fish.
A little bigger in size than expected, we came upon the lion exhibit, featuring four 8-month-old South African lion cubs and their mom, Adia. They are available for viewing everyday, between 9:30am and 6:00pm. Born in November, the cubs are nearly teenagers now, but the mom still watches out for them from afar.
For just $5 kids and adults can feed the elephants every day of the week during lunchtime, between 1:30 and 2:30pm. Located in the Thai Village in Tropical Asia. Offered all summer through September 30, 2013.
One of the zoo’s newest exhibits and part of the “Discover the Asian Tropical Forest Initiative” are the smallest otter species in the world, small-clawed otters. The beautiful exhibit mimics the otter’s natural habitat, the forest and its waterways.
Photo Credit: Maura Giles/Indianapolis Zoo
Phases 2 and 3 of the Asian Tropical Forest Initiative features the “Bamboo Forest Reserve”; a naturalistic tiger and sloth bear exhibit complex. The $19.6 million initiative will be the most innovative exhibit that the Woodland Park Zoo has ever created, offering interactive and up-close visitor experiences. Fundraising is still underway.
Hours: Open 9:30am - 6:00pm daily
Adult (13-64 years ) $18.75
Child (3-12 years) $11.75
Toddlers (0-2 years) free
Seniors (65+) or Disabled $2 off regular admission
Onsite parking: $5.25
City Pass accepted. Save 43% off Seattle's six best attractions, plus skip the lines. Includes admission to Woodland Park Zoo, Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour and EMP Museum. Valid 9 days.
Adult $74 (value $129)
Child (4-12 years) $49
Every summer for the past 30 years, the zoo raises money for animal conservation purposes by putting on summer concerts held on the grass lawn inside the park. As a family event, ZooTunes encourages kids with free admission of one child per paying adult. NEW this summer, kids can now play inside a kids’ play area while parents enjoy the concert. Provided by Seattle Gymnastics Academy, the area features tumbling mats, crafts, games and activities for kids ages 3-12.
2013 Summer Concert Line-up
1. July 24: An Evening with Randy Newman ($28)
2. July 26: Leann Rimes ($32.50)
3. July 30 &31: Indigo Girls ($28)
4. August 7: Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue ($26)
5. August 11: Todd Snider’s Traveling Folk Show ($24)
Visit Seattle Southside for more zoo information, brochures and discount cards. Seattle Southside is located across the street from the airport at 3100 S. 176th St, Seattle, WA 98188. Open Monday – Friday from 9am - 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am-4pm. 206.575.2489.
(Photos courtesy of Woodland Park Zoo)