If you haven’t visited Woodland Park Zoo, it’s about time you do! The Zoo has served as an urban oasis for over 110 years and spans to 92 acres, where 65 of those acres have been developed into exhibits and public spaces. It is open 364 days of the year with the exception of December 25th, Christmas Day.
My family and I went on a Friday. I have two boys, a 15-month and a 3.5-year-old. It was our first time back to Woodland Park Zoo in years, and for my boys, it was their very first -time; so we were extremely excited about going!
The Zoo has designated parking lots for its guests and parking costs $5.25 for your entire stay there. Residential neighborhoods surround the Zoo, so we were lucky to find rare free street parking nearby.
Once inside the gates you can experience all 7 continents at the Woodland Park Zoo (WPZ). Sanctuaries include: the Tropical Rain Forest, Tropical Asia, Temperate Forest, African Savanna, Australasia, and the Northern Trail.
There is even a Family Farm, a Bug World, and the LEED Gold-certified, Zoomazium. Zoomazium is a nature-inspired indoor play space for kids 8 and younger. My 3.5-year-old loved it and could have spent all-day in there, but of course, we had to get going to check out everything else!
We experienced so many extraordinary exhibits but we definitely had some favorites. By far, my eldest’s favorite was the Humboldt Penguins! There were at least 20 penguins that you could see and majority of them were very active.
The penguins kept on jumping in and out of the water, so my son was super excited every time they swam right up to him on the other side of the glass viewing window. He would run around to each window to see them. He also loved the Habitat Discovery Loop. It’s an outdoor playground for kids, with nature-like “big toys”, so it was an extremely nice break from sitting in his stroller.
The newest guests to Woodland Park Zoo are the Cheetahs. Unfortunately, they were sleeping when we visited them, so we didn’t get to see them in play. Hopefully you are able to when you visit!
My youngest son loved the Brown Bears in the Northern Trail area. There were 2 enormous bears that strolled back and forth from their caves to the grassy area, which we were near. He was also able to view them from an “underground” and “aquarium-like” perspective through a viewing shelter, located nearby overlooking the Brown Bears and the Otter exhibit.
Their Dad had two favorites including the Gray Wolves. They are also located in the Northern Trail. We watched about 6-8 of them roam back and forth through the forest, traveling in their pack. They looked quite mysterious, and we kept on asking ourselves, “I wonder what they are thinking.”
His other favorite was the Raptor Program.
Woodland Park Zoo conducts daily animal lectures, activities, and outreach programs throughout the year, in which guests can actively participate. The “Raptor In Flight Program” is part of those sessions.
During the session, we learned about the certain Raptor’s mannerisms and skills, along with witnessing them in-flight! It was quite amazing, being able to see them so close and upfront. We were literally about 2 feet away from a Spectacled Owl and a Peregrine Falcon.
My favorite sanctuary was the African Savanna. The Zoo has an African Village with a huge lookout space, where we were able to see Giraffes, an Ostrich, Zebra, Gazelle, and a Peacock all in one setting! Usually you are only to view one type of animal at each time, but the view from the Village was remarkable!
To be able to see all of those animals, all at once, made you feel like you were not at a zoo but out in actual grasslands (or as my kids’ Dad says, “The Pride lands)!
Other memorable exhibits included: the Elephant Forest, Gorillas, and the Siamang Monkeys; all are a must-see when you visit the Woodland Park Zoo.
After reading all of this, I hope you are excited to visit the Zoo as much as I am excited to go back with my family. There are always new things to experience and see. Just remember to prepare for a long, but entertaining day. Bring snacks, water, and whatever else you will need to keep you going! And don’t forget your cameras! There are snack bars throughout the Zoo, along with 2 gift stores, and photo stations.
The possibilities at the Zoo are endless, including a summer concert series, called ZooTunes, and people can even hold private events (i.e. weddings, birthdays, and meetings) there. Be sure to visit and check out Woodland Park Zoo’s website to get a full experience on what it has to offer!
Admission prices varies by season and age, so right now (summer, peak-season, 0-2 are free, 3-12 years are $11.75, 13-64 costs $18.75, and 65+/disabled discount are $16.75).
The CityPass is available to purchase onsite or online. It's an awesome option for tourists and visiting guests and even locals if you want to be a tourist in your own backyard. The CityPass saves guests 46% on Seattle's top 5 attractions and allows visitors to skip lines. Totally worth it!