Located in Seattle’s Woodland Park, just 10 minutes north of downtown, the Woodland Park Zoo was founded in 1899 and now lies on 92 acres and is home to over 1000 animals, representing over 300 species. Along with a plethora of fauna the zoo is also a botanical garden with over 92,000 plants and tree species representing over 1,300 species. Since 1987 the zoo has planted over 4000 trees!
The Woodland Park Zoo is world renown for their award-winning exhibits and has won more Best National Exhibit awards from AZA (Association of Zoos & Aquariums) than any other zoo except the Bronx Zoo. Some of the exhibits that have won these awards are their Humboldt penguin exhibit, Trails of Vines, Jaguar Cove and their Elephant Forest exhibit. If there was one thing that stood out about my visit to the Woodland Park Zoo it was most definitely their absolute naturalist enclosures for their animals. It was as though you were peaking in on them in the wild – which is the best kind of enclosure for an animal for its physical and mental health. Some of my favourites enclosures included the brown bear, the outdoor yards for the orangutans and siamangs, and the jaguar.
The Woodland Park Zoo has its hands in 37 conservation projects from around the world to close to home in the Pacific Northwest. Some of their local projects include work with native raptors, turtles, frogs and their habitats. One local project is to save the endangered Oregon silverspot butterfly of which they raise at the zoo for release back into the wild. Across the globe the Woodland Park Zoo works with projects concerning gorillas, orangutans, hornbills, and tree kangaroos.
The Woodland Park Zoo is also doing their part by creating a green and sustainable environment at the zoo. The zoo has installed solar panels on a couple of its buildings, even small solar panels on their parking meters and on its Historic Carousel that produces enough renewable energy to power the carousel all year long. Along with solar power the zoo has created a green roof on its Zoomazium building that is a full-scale garden full of native plants. Probably one of the coolest green projects at the zoo is their Zoo Doo – where the zoo compost 600 tons of animal waste a year, saving $60,000 and saving it from going into landfills. Not only are they going green with this project (or brown) but their also making green by offering the compost for sale. You too can have Zoo Doo!
When I decided on heading to the US West Coast I knew one thing was for sure, I was going to visit the world renown Woodland Park Zoo! I was so excited to see its astounding exhibits and I wasn’t disappointed, I was blown away. The Woodland Park Zoo has made its way into my top favourite zoos!