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Woodland Park Zoo

woodland park zoo, woodland park zoo concerts
Woodland Park Zoo is a zoological garden located in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood of Seattle, Washington


  • 1 History
  • 2 Exhibits
  • 3 Community engagement
  • 4 Notable animals
  • 5 Other displays
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links


Occupying the western half of Woodland Park, the zoo began as a small menagerie on the estate of Guy C Phinney, a Canadian-born lumber mill owner and real estate developer Six years after Phinney's death, on December 28, 1899, Phinney's wife sold the 188-acre 76 ha Woodland Park to the city for $5,000 in cash and the assumption of a $95,000 mortgage The sum was so large that the Seattle mayor W D Wood vetoed the acquisition, only to be later overruled by the city council In 1902, the Olmsted Brothers firm of Boston was hired to design the city's parks, including Woodland Park, and the next year the collection of the private Leschi Park menagerie was moved to Phinney Ridge

As of the summer of 2010update, the zoo includes 92 acres 37 ha of exhibits and public spaces It is open to the public daily,3 and received 105 million visitors in 2006 Its collection includes:

  • 1,090 animal specimens
  • 300 animal species
  • 35 endangered and 5 threatened animal species
  • 7,000 trees
  • 50,000+ shrubs and herbs
  • 1,000+ plant species


Woodland Park Zoo is a recipient of multiple Best National Exhibit awards from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, and ranks second to the Bronx Zoo in New York City for the number received4 Woodland Park Zoo created what is generally considered the world's first immersion exhibit, a gorilla habitat, which opened in the late 1970s under the direction of zoo architect David Hancocks5 Other exhibits include:

The Zoomazium play area for kids
  • Zoomazium, a portmanteau of "zoo" and "gymnasium", is an interactive play space for children that opened in May 2006 It includes nature-themed play spaces as well as a Nature Exchange desk and open areas for interactive programs It was built to be energy efficient and includes a green roof of native plants
  • Tropical Rain Forest - A walkway approaches the building with views of a habitat for jaguars opened in 2003, and underwater viewing Nearby is a jungle researcher's tent Inside the building are animals from Central America and South America, including ocelots, poison arrow frogs, bushmasters, tamarins, toucans, and a variety of tropical birds An outdoor loop houses several African rain forest species, including red ruffed lemurs, colobus monkeys, and a rambling gorilla exhibit
  • Tropical Asia - This biome consists of two major areas: Banyan Wilds and Trail of Vines The newest addition, Banyan Wilds, represents Southeast Asian forests Phase One opened in 2013, featuring Asian small-clawed otters and an aviary of tropical Asian birds The second and final phase opened in May 2015, featuring new exhibits for sloth bears and Malayan tigers6 Trail of Vines takes the visitor on a journey through several different Southeast Asian rainforest habitats, featuring numerous endangered species Beginning with Malayan tapirs, it proceeds to lion-tailed macaques, Indian pythons, and finally large indoor/outdoor habitats for siamangs and orangutans The biome's third exhibit area, Elephant Forest, was closed when the zoo phased out its elephant program in April 20157
Brown bear in Northern Trail area
  • Northern Trail - This exhibit takes the visitor through the northern habitats of the tundra, taiga, and montane It is landscaped to resemble an actual trail in Alaska's Denali National Park The Northern Trail is home to a variety of North American animal species, including timber wolves, Arctic foxes, grizzly bears, mountain goats, Steller's sea eagles, and Roosevelt elk which are actually endemic to Washington
  • African Savanna - The visitor enters through a model African village, which combines elements of African culture and themes of the human/animal balance in conservation The main "savanna" houses giraffes, zebras, gazelles, oryxes, and ostriches, while two connected exhibits house hippopotamus and patas monkeys During the summer, visitors may hand-feed the giraffes for a small fee at specified times Hidden moats allow these areas to appear to be part of a continuous landscape In addition to the herbivores, two separate exhibits house Southeast African lions and African warthogs
  • Australasia - This exhibit is one of the smaller biomes at the zoo It features Willawong Station, which houses more than 100 parrots from Australia, plus parakeets, cockatiels and eastern rosellas Other animals in Australasia are kookaburra, wallaroo and wallaby, emu and snow leopards
  • Temperate Forest - home to a variety of animals from temperate regions of Asia, North America, and South America It includes an aviary with a number of exotic birds, including hornbills and pheasants, as well as sections for cranes, red pandas, and a marsh exhibit featuring local waterfowl species In 2008 a small exhibit was opened in the Temperate Forest area featuring Chilean flamingos and southern pudús, which have bred successfully at the zoo In 2014, a pair of cheetah were temporarily housed in this area, part of a reinterpretation called "Wildlife Survival Zone", which also features a small alcove focusing on the zoo's efforts to restore the native western pond turtle
  • Other notable animal exhibits at Woodland Park Zoo include a Raptor Center and accompanying flight demonstration, and lowland anoa The zoo also includes "Family Farm" and Bug World exhibits In the Adaptations building visitors can find meerkats, added in 2010, as well as nocturnal animals, including Indian flying fox and sloths8
Woodland Park Zoo Carousel
  • The zoo also has a hand-carved carousel, originally built for the Cincinnati Zoo in 1918 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company In the 1970s, the carousel was moved to Santa Clara, California, where it operated into the 1990s It was donated to Woodland Park Zoo by the Alleniana Foundation, and opened May 1, 2007 in a new pavilion on the zoo's North Meadow
  • In May 2009, the Woodland Park Zoo opened a new 17,000-square-foot 1,600 m2 Humboldt penguin exhibit The outdoor enclosure is designed to recreate the penguin's native habitat in Peru, and features cliffs and pools The exhibit is also designed to use green energy, such as geothermal power9

Community engagementedit

Woodland Park Zoo has been an active member of environmental and ecological conservation efforts across the US Besides operating its own educational programs for school children, the park also cooperates with many of the higher education institutions within state, such as the University of Washington On January 5, 2010, the zoo announced that due to the "difficult economy," it would be closing its Night Exhibit1011

Notable animalsedit

Bobo's successors live in a modern landscaped enclosure with glass panels that allow visitors to get up close without disturbing the gorillas

From 1953 to 1968, Woodland Park Zoo was home to Bobo, a western lowland gorilla Gorilla gorilla gorilla, the same species as the gorillas currently living at the zoo Bobo was acquired from the Lowman family of Anacortes, Washington, who had purchased the gorilla as an infant from a hunter in Columbus, Ohio in 1951 and had raised him in their family home in Anacortes Bobo drew many visitors to the zoo and was one of Seattle's main attractions in the years preceding the construction of Seattle Center and the expansion of major-league professional sports into the city; his popularity is credited with helping the zoo obtain funding to build a new primate house

Anthropologist Dawn Prince-Hughes spent many years working at Woodland Park Zoo and observing the western lowland gorillas there, which she wrote about in her book Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey Through Autism12

Two lionesses named Busela Seyla and Nobuhle Nabu transferred from this zoo to Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, Utah to breed with the Montgomery Zoo's two male lions, Baron and Vulcan13 On February 24, 2016, Nabu gave birth to two males, Brutus and Titus, and a female, Calliope Baron fathered the three cubscitation needed

Other displaysedit

Two 6"/30 caliber guns from USS Concord PG-3 are displayed near the zoo


  1. ^ a b http://wwwzooorg/zoo_info/abouthtml retrieved October 22, 2006dead link
  2. ^ "List of Accredited Zoos and Aquariums" azaorg AZA Retrieved 25 February 2011 
  3. ^ http://wwwzooorg/visit
  4. ^ "Exhibit Awards", Association of Zoos & Aquariums, 2014-10-12 
  5. ^ Schaul, Jordan Carlton 2012-03-13, "A Critical Look at the Future of Zoos–An Interview with David Hancocks", National Geographic 
  6. ^ 1, Woodland Park Zoo, Accessed 2015-05-12
  7. ^ 2, Woodland Park Zoo, Accessed 2015-04-17
  8. ^ "Meerkats returning to Woodland Park Zoo" The Seattle Times March 23, 2010 
  9. ^ McKenzie, Madeline April 30, 2009 "Penguin exhibit opens Saturday at Woodland Park Zoo" The Seattle Times 
  10. ^ Woodland Park Zoo STATEMENT: Night Exhibit "Nocturnal House" Closure, Woodland Park Zoo, 2010-01-05 Accessed online 2010-01-07
  11. ^ "Woodland Park Zoo to close Night Exhibit" mynorthwestco Bonneville International 21 January 2010 Retrieved 25 February 2011 
  12. ^ Prince-Hughes, Dawn 1987 Songs of the Gorilla Nation Harmony p 77 ISBN 1-4000-5058-8 
  13. ^ http://saltlakemagazinecom/blog/2014/05/01/lions-make-their-way-to-hogle-zoo/

External linksedit

  • Official website
  • RadioLab episode on 'Zoos' - First segment describes Woodland Park Zoo's first immersion exhibit

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