Hawaii Mom Blog: Visit Seattle - Woodland Park Zoo




October 21, 2013

Visit Seattle - Woodland Park Zoo

Click on all photos to enlarge. Disclosure: Our family received complimentary admission.

Pouring rain, ominous clouds, and booming thunder did not stop us (or hundreds of other visitors) from visiting Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle a few days ago, a multiple award-winning zoo spread out on over 92 acres, and home to more than 300 species of animals and 1000 species of plants.

Highlights of Our Visit
Immediately upon entering we were greeted by a bunch of cute penguins in the Humboldt Penguin Exhibit.

Soon after we decided to head to the indoor Day Exhibits since it was still raining a bit, and there we saw the Tree Kangaroo, tortoises, a rattlesnake, and more!

Fortunately the rain stopped for almost the rest of the day, and we were able to stroll through the grounds to peruse educational displays and see more amazing creatures.
Western Lowland Gorilla

Komodo Dragon

Gray Wolf
African Warthog
Bug World was also cool, as we got an up-close look at creepy crawlies, including an unenclosed spider with a sign that read "Yes, the spider is alive.  The web is real. DO NOT TOUCH."

Another huge highlight - especially for my kids, was the Zoomazium - an indoor play space for kids 8 years old and younger.  In Zoomazium kids can walk across a rope bridge, crawl through a cave, and even climb and slide down a 20-foot tree (there is also an area designated for very little ones to play).

There were numerous other play areas throughout the zoo in which my kids had so much fun, and another big favorite was the Nature Play Space for Kids in the Bamboo Forest Reserve, where they got a kick out of going on the mini zipline.

Outside food is allowed, but we ended up eating lunch at the Rain Forest Food Pavilion, which offered plenty of dining options.
Clockwise from top left: Pepperoni Pizza from Market Grill; Hot Dog (part of kids meal, which includes a side and drink) from Market Grill; Indian Chicken Naanwich from Woodland Grill; Small Market Mac n' Cheese from Woodland Grill.
The prices were reasonable and the food was satisfying.

For more information on dining options and menus, click here.

Our Experience Visiting with a Special-Needs Child
My oldest son has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and although I know kids on the spectrum all behave and react differently in various environments, I always try to share our personal experience when visiting attractions.

Since my son has been to zoos before, he knew what to expect once we arrived, and he was eager to look for his favorite animal - the zebra.

However, because it was raining at times and he has sensory issues with rain, he was a little more anxious than usual.  Fortunately, there are several covered and indoor areas (click here for a Rainy Day Map), as well as numerous places to sit and take a break, which we did in order for him to ease any anxieties.

When we were able to find something he enjoyed seeing or doing (like seeing the zebra or playing at the Zoomazium), we made sure to give him a little extra time at those places.

Also, since my son loves to play on the iPhone, we also downloaded the Woodland Park Zoo app so he could look at pictures and find out more about the animals, and since he's obsessed with maps, we made sure he got to carry his own zoo map.

For those on GFCF or other restricted diets, as noted above, outside food is allowed.

Final Thoughts
Despite some rain, and not being able to see all the animals we wanted to (because they were hiding, or not on exhibit when we visited), our entire family enjoyed the Woodland Park Zoo.

My kids all got to see their favorite animals (my oldest - the zebra, my middle - the giraffe, my youngest - the elephant), and they had a blast in Zoomazium.

We spent about 5 hours at the zoo - and I'm sure we could've spent a couple more there.

Rain or shine - I highly recommend visiting Woodland Park Zoo (they offer rainy day discounts) if you're in the Seattle area.

The fantastic exhibits, numerous play areas, plentiful dining options, and educational displays make Woodland Park Zoo my personal favorite of all zoos that I have visited so far.

Below are more photos from our visit.  Enjoy!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Woodland Park Zoo: 601 N 59th St, Seattle, WA 98103, (206) 548-2500

For information on admission prices and hours, click here.  Parking: $5.25/day for cars.

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