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Visit the Pacific Northwest’s biggest zoo and support wildlife conservation around the world

Travel the globe with the 250 animal species that call Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo home
Get up close and personal with the animals of Woodland Park Zoo.

Lions and tigers and bears, and rhinos and zebras and emus, are just several of the magnificent creatures you may be lucky enough to see during a day at the zoo.

No matter what city you’re visiting, an outing to the zoo can provide an escape into the worlds of wildlife from around the globe, through an adventure that’s equal parts educational and entrancing. 

In addition to the Seahawks, a bustling live music scene, fresh coffee and even fresher Pike Place chowder, our American neighbours in Seattle lay claim to one of North America’s greatest zoos.

Founded in 1899, Woodland Park Zoo is located just a short distance from downtown Seattle. Home to over 800 animals and 250 species, this urban oasis spans across 92 acres and is divided into distinct bioclimatic zones, such as humid tropical rainforests, coastal deserts, dry grasslands, and temperate rainforests. Each of the diverse habitats immerse visitors in realistic landscapes as they encounter the wildlife in their own territories.

“Every year, we lead more than 1 million people on a journey that inspires a lifelong love of animals, makes science come alive and gives people the tools to take conservation action,” says Laura Rieder, director of marketing and advertising at Woodland Park Zoo. “Visitors can go eye-to-eye with orangutans in an open forested canopy in the Trail of Vines, be nose-to-beak with penguins “flying” underwater, see and hear squealing otters, marvel at the majestic movements of tigers and experience many magical encounters with animals.”

From the reopening of popular exhibits to the addition of new baby animals, here’s everything to look forward to at Woodland Park Zoo this summer. 

Woodland Park Zoo is home to over 800 animals and 250 species. Photo via Woodland Park Zoo

Experience a prime gorilla destination

Woodland Park Zoo is renowned for having one of the best gorilla programs of all zoos across the globe. In 1979, the zoo opened the world’s first naturalistic gorilla exhibit, with a concept designed by Seattle-based architects Jones & Jones and with consultation from primatologists Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey. 

“Woodland Park Zoo has one of the most successful gorilla breeding programs, with 15 viable gorilla births and another new birth coming in early July,” Rieder says. “Today, the zoo has two multi-generational gorilla families with adults, babies and juveniles, which accurately reflect how their kin in the wild live.”

Follow the butterflies

Open from now through Labour Day, the Butterfly Garden experience allows guests to enter into the wondrous world of hundreds of Northwest butterflies as the marvelous “free-flying flowers” float around the enclosed space. Learn about the metamorphosis cycle of these colourful winged insects as they transform from larvae to butterflies. 

At the Microsoft Pollinator Patio, visitors can stroll through a garden complete with actions to take to attract pollinators such as butterflies, hummingbirds, beetles, bees and flies in your own backyard.

Encounter wildlife in realistic landscapes. Photo via Woodland Park Zoo

Get up close and personal with the animals

From meet and greets to training demonstrations, you can immerse yourself completely in the lives of the animals of Woodland Park Zoo as you learn all about each species from the animal keepers who study and care for them.

Here are some of the animal encounter programs planned for this summer:

  • Rhino Encounter: Daily from 1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (closed on Tuesdays)
    Hear from rhino keepers about how they care for one of the zoo’s largest residents and enjoy a meet and greet with resident rhino Glenn.

  • Giraffe Encounter: Daily from 11:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. (closed on Fridays)
    Gaze up at the tallest animal on the African Savanna. If you’re lucky, one of the giraffes may take a leafy snack from your hand.

  • Creature Feature: Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.
    On Thursdays, Zoomazium offers a great opportunity for children to meet a scaled, sleek or shelled animal friend in person.

  • Orangutan Training: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:30 p.m.
    Training animals as smart as orangutans allows the animal keepers to check on their health and provides learning opportunities for the animals themselves.

  • Tiger Training: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.
    Discover how training enables these large and powerful big cats to participate in their own health care.

  • Penguin Snack Time: Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
    The zoo’s Humboldt penguin colony has more than 40 individuals, each with unique personalities. Hear all about the recent drama, action and funny stories between the individual penguins while watching the colony receive their morning snacks.
Every visit to Woodland Park Zoo supports efforts to protect wildlife species for generations to come. Photo via Woodland Park Zoo

Supporting wildlife conservation efforts

In 2023, Woodland Park Zoo contributed $2.3 million toward wildlife conservation projects in the Pacific Northwest and around the world.

“Every visit to the zoo supports exemplary day-to-day care and welfare for the more than 800 animals that call the zoo home, education programs that inspire people to make conservation a priority in their lives, and supports more than 25 wildlife conservation projects taking place in the Pacific Northwest and around the world,” Rieder says. 

By visiting the animals of Woodland Park Zoo this summer, you can help ensure that we can protect wildlife species on our planet for generations to come. 

Woodland Park Zoo’s extended summer hours run from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from now until September 2. Visit to plan your visit to the zoo.