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Seattle's Top 10 : Woodland Park Zoo

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Designed in 1909 by architect John Olmsted, this is one of the oldest zoos on the West Coast. Occupying an area of 92 acres, the landscape offers a natural habitat for nearly 300 animal species. Reflecting a naturalistic mission to advocate conservation and education while imparting the value of an ecological perspective, the animal habitats are as close to nature as possible. African mammals roam grasslands of a savanna; Asian elephants thrive in Thai-style setting; grizzly bears frolic over logs and in a stream running down a steep hill. A popular attraction for families with young children is the petting zoo, literally a hands-on activity that’s fun and educational.

Woodland Park Zoo

  • 601 North 59th St

  • 206 684 4800

  • Open mid-Mar–Apr: 9:30am–5pm daily; May–mid-Sep: 9:30am–6pm daily; mid-Sep–mid-Oct: 9:30am–5pm daily; mid-Oct– mid-Mar: 9:30am– 4pm daily

  • Adm: Adults (13-64) $10, child (3-12) $7, toddler (0–2) free

  • www.zoo.org


Zoo Summer Concerts

The zoo departs from its main agenda every summer with one of Seattle’s musical highlights. Residents from the surrounding neighborhood and all over town meet on the North Meadow in the late afternoons and early evenings for a picnic dinner, and take in entertainment from some of the best known musicians worldwide. In keeping with the zoo’s family theme, children under 12 are admitted free.


Main entrance gate to Woodland Park Zoo

Inside the West Gate are several places to eat in the Pavillion, where you’ll find the Naturally Untamed Grill, the Rainforest Deli, Bamboo Hut, and other food counters.


You can visit Woodland Park across Hwy 99 (Aurora Avenue) from the zoo.


Gardeners reserve their cherished spot each year when zoo officials unload prized composted animal manure – ZooDoo.


Look out for the iridescent tail feathers of resident peacocks who wander the walkways and surprise onlookers.


Top 10 Sights
  1. Jaguar

    The largest cat species in the Western Hemisphere found a home here in 2003. The habitat features a cave, a pool for his swimming preferences, and jungle-like terrain that brings the fearsome animal close enough to touch save for the glass enclosure.

  2. Gorillas

    In one of the most cherished spots at the zoo you can view two multi-generational gorilla families, cavorting only inches away on the other side of the glass.

  3. Elephant House

    View zookeepers groom and feed the Asian elephants several times a day. There are also scheduled demonstrations of elephants performing tasks such as log stacking.

  4. African Savanna

    Lions, giraffes, hippos, spotted hyenas, gazelles, wild dogs, white-faced whistling duck, patas monkey, zebras, and Egyptian geese make this city-bound safari one of the largest and most exhilarating places. Observe from an overlook dedicated to guitarist and Seattle native Jimi Hendrix.

  5. Nocturnals

    Take a break from the screech and howls of outdoor wildlife for the dark and silent mysteries of nocturnal creatures. Watch boas, pythons, vampire bats, tomato frogs, blue-tongued skinks, and much more.

  6. Birds of Prey

    Watch falconers send regal winged predators out and back by the Raptor Center. Perched on fence posts, owls and red-tailed hawks may reside calmly in full panoramic view.

  7. Northern Trail

    This is where to find the deceptively playful-looking grizzly bears. Nearby, packs of gray or white wolves seem haunted, and the extremely threatened river otters dive under­water and re-surface with total abandon.

  8. Orangutans/ Siamangs

    With intelligence that approaches our own, orangutans are still hilarious to observe. Also view siamangs, native to the island of Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula.

  9. Komodo Dragons

    The world’s largest carnivorous lizards can weigh as much as 500 pounds (226 kg) with a length of 9 ft (3 m), and are excellent swimmers. Not recommended for pets, but great for the imagination.

  10. Plants & Pathways

    Take the time to appreciate the careful consideration zoo land-scapers have given to this human environment. The shrubbery is lush and plentiful, and lends an exotic ambience to the occasion.

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