Into the Forests of Woodland Park Zoo

The final two regions of the Woodland Park Zoo are the Tropical Rain Forest and Temperate Forest. In the Tropical Rain Forest exhibit you’ll find various animals that call Central and South America home like ocelot, poison arrow dart frogs, toucans as well as Africa rain forest species like lemurs and gorillas.  The Tropical Rain Forest is another of Woodland Park Zoo’s award-winning exhibits and was the first zoo to create and build a naturalistic outdoor exhibit for gorillas in 1979.

silverback gorillaThe zoo’s gorilla exhibit is a large outdoor yard full of mature trees, logs, rocks and plenty of foliage to hide and play in.  During my visit I watched as the adult male silver back came sauntering over to me and laid down in front of me with his legs crossed and arm behind his head, I couldn’t help but think of him as my distant ancestor with his human-like display.

The region boasts an indoor building home to a variety of snakes, turtles, birds and even golden lion tamarians, with photos showing where in the forest canopy you’ll find each species.  The building also has a large walk-through aviary full of beautiful birds you’ll have to search for amongst the trees like the banana quit with its yellow breast and the spangled cotinga with its beautiful teal blue feathers and red throat patch.  Throughout the zoo there are signs with tips on how you can help save these particular species and their habitats and here in the rain forest building they promote the purchase of shade grown coffee which reduces the cutting down of trees so that birds and other animals can continue to thrive and call these places home while still allowing locals to provide for their families.

Outdoors you’ll pass by red-ruffed lemurs climbing high atop the tree tops and colobus monkeys perched in the shade with their brilliant white shaggy hair that always seems so well groomed.  Also near by is the zoo’s Humboldt penguin exhibit that is 17,000 square feet, and recreates their Peruvian cliffs and pools where their wild cousins call home.  The exhibit also uses green energy such as geothermal power to warm the waters of which there is great under water viewing to watch as these little tuxedo torpedoes dive and dance in the water.

jaguarMy favourite enclosure in this region is also probably one of my favourite exhibits of all time – home to the jaguar. I stared in awe as there in the distance, among the dense rain forest was a stunning jaguar.  He looked around and then stepped out into the open so I could see his gorgeous spotted coat, and started walking along the stream that flowed through his home and then delicately across the water and slipped behind the tall waterfall as if it were a dream.  That’s right I had to check myself, I was NOT in the rain forests of South America I was in Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo.

From the rain forests to the Temperate Forest where you’ll see animals from temperate regions of Asia, North America and South America.  The Woodland Park Zoo’s Temperate Forest is home to plenty of bird species from around the world, including Chilean flamingos, northern helmeted curassows and the beautiful and vibrant Temminck’s tragopen.  There are also adorable mammals like Southern pudus, the smallest deer species, and red pandas lounging up in the tree tops.  Don’t forget to check out Bug World, home to various insects and arachnids like cockroaches, numerous beetles and even a giant water bug with its eggs on its back for protection.  Many may not like bugs but many are very good mothers like the giant water bug and scorpions who carry their young on their back for protect before and after their born.  Probably the coolest and for some, scariest is the enclosure for the golden orb weaver spider – or dare I say lack of enclosure.  There is no glass between you and this lady spider as she waits patiently for her insect food to come to her in her web and therefore doesn’t venture out.

giant water bug with eggsThe last trail I took was through an outdoor aviary which wrapped up my visit to the Woodland Park Zoo beautifully, as it was peaceful and full of more amazing species from various endangered crane species like the red-crown, white-naped and hooded cranes as well as waterfowl that call the zoo’s large walk through marsh habitat home.

white-naped craneI knew the Woodland Park Zoo was going to be a great zoo but I had no idea that it would still my breath away with its astounding award-winning exhibits and great animal displays.  I left there knowing that the Woodland Park Zoo was now my favourite zoo!

For more photos of my Woodland Park Zoo visit check out my Facebook page Lady of the Zoos

Have you visited the Woodland Park Zoo?

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