Seattle is home to one of the finest zoos in the United States, the Woodland Park Zoo, located in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood just north of downtown. The zoo boasts more than 1,100 animals from over 300 different species. The zoo is dedicated to conservation work by both breeding and education of the public. The Woodland Park Zoo is home to jaguar triplets, otter pups and a new baby giraffe due sometime in the summer of 2013. Covering 92 acres in the heart of Seattle, the zoo is a vital part of any visitor’s trip to Seattle, and a regular stop for residents.
Woodland Park Zoo
5500 Phinney Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98103
Founded in 1899, the land on which the zoo now sits was purchased by the City of Seattle following the death of Guy Phinney. The zoo covers 92 acres, 65 of which are utilized for both animal exhibits, a large park and some more undeveloped public spaces. Woodland Park Zoo currently has nearly 40,000 member households and hosted 1.1 million visitors in 2012. Not surprisingly, the zoo manages the largest live animal collection in the State of Washington, but less known is that the zoo does the important conservation work of housing 46 different endangered species. The facility features a large food pavilion, a chowder house and food carts located throughout the grounds to keep guests well fed. There are two gift shops selling items with zoo branding, but also has items from craft people from around the world.
The City of Seattle, beyond the zoo, is a fantastic location for a weekend getaway or a longer visit. It is the largest city in both the State of Washington and in the Pacific Northwest region. On the banks of the Puget Sound, it offers both coastal activities and mountain activities provided by the nearby Mount Rainier. It is home to the world famous Space Needle and Pike Place Market. The Seattle Art Museum hosts a world class collection of art and the Olympic Sculpture Park is a unique outdoor museum experience.
The Woodland Park Zoo is located in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood of north Seattle. It has two main entrances, one on 50th Street and one on Phinney Avenue. The zoo is easily accessible via Interstate Highway 5 and Highway 99, both by taking 45th Avenue and following signs. Metro Transit bus #5 northbound and #44 southbound will take visitors just outside the entrance gates. Yet another option for traveling to the zoo would be to bike. There are plenty of bike shelters on the zoo property and great bike lanes in the surrounding neighborhoods to make for a safe trip.
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Hours and Price
The zoo is open every day of the year, except Christmas day. Summer hours continue to September 30th and are 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., but the grounds stay open until 7 p.m. Winter hours then take over and change to a 4 p.m. closing time with the grounds staying open until 5 p.m. nightly.
Ticket prices also vary by season and run $18.75 for adults and $11.75 for children ages three to 12 during summer hours. Winter brings the prices down to $12.75 for adults and $8.75 for children. Toddlers are always free and seniors (65+) get $2 off daily admission.
The Rain Forest Food Pavilion offers a wide selection of offerings to suit every taste and is the only food offering open year round. Options for the health conscious are available as are kids’ meals and snacks. Here you can find an assortment of specialty drinks, smoothies, coffee, indoor and outdoor seating and an ATM.
Open seasonally is the Pacific Blue Chowder House, which offers much more than chowder. With an emphasis on local ingredients and sustainable harvesting, it serves products from local farmers and fisheries. The menu features seafood items, burgers, hot dogs, fries and more.
The zoo also features food cart offerings throughout the grounds that are open seasonally and vary each year.
What to See
The Woodland Park Zoo is separated into six different habitats: Northern Trail, Australasia, Tropical Asia, Tropical Rainforest, African Savannah and Temperate Forest. Tropical Asia includes the smaller zones of Elephant Forest, Bamboo Forest Reserve and Trail of Vines. Popular features include the Elephant Forest, penguins, otters and, of course, the monkeys. Baby animals are currently living with the otters and jaguars and always bring a big crowd eager to see the babies learn their way. The popular ZooTunes concert series continues at the zoo throughout the summer. The program features national touring musical acts playing in an outdoor, family-friendly venue. The concerts are always very popular and typically sell out, regardless of who is playing.
Megan Knight resides in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, WA. During the day she works in IT Management and at night is a royal news junkie. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.