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Guide to Visiting Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle

January 25, 2024 By CityPASS


Established in 1899, Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the United States; and spans nearly 100 acres of pure animal enjoyment. The top-award-winning zoo delights guests with more than 800 animals that originate from various habitats and ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. Nestled in Woodland Park, this iconic destination is only a few miles from the Ballard Locks (Hiram H. Chittendon Locks) another of Seattle's top places to visit.

One of the bet parts about this Seattle zoo is its dedication to wildlife conservation. From investing in field projects that save endangered species to creating "Zoo Doo" (composted herbivorous fecal matter) instead of dumping the manure in landfills, Woodland Park Zoo is 100% committed to sustainability and helping the planet thrive.

Woodland Park Zoo Animal Exhibits

With over 240 species of animals from virtually every climate on earth, you'll be spoilt for choice when deciding what to discover first.

African Savanna

If gentle giraffes and majestic lions are your kryptonite, head to the vast African Savanna for species found in the dry grasslands of Africa including patas monkeys, hippos, zebras, and birds.

Ambassador Animals

These are the cutest dignitaries you'll ever see! Visitors get the chance to see these critters up close in Woodland Park Zoo's theaters and through other programs at the zoo. The zoo's ambassador animals help build guests' empathy for animals and promote ways to take action for wildlife.

Assam Rhino Reserve

Regrettably, rhinos are one of the most highly poached wild animals, thanks to a widely-believed myth (mostly among Asian countries) that rhino horn has medicinal properties. That's why Woodland Park Zoo is proud to present a safe harbor for these striking animals, where guests will be able to admire a rhino up close.


There's more to Australia and its neighboring countries than just kangaroos! Check out the statuesque emus and talkative Kookaburra, but make sure to save time to sneak a peek at the snow leopard, known as the "ghost of the mountains," before you move on.

Molbak's Butterfly Garden

This is a seasonal exhibit (summer) so be sure to check out Woodland Park Zoo's website before your visit for opening hours. If you're lucky, you'll get to wander amongst over 500 free-flying native butterflies and learn about the butterfly life cycle, from egg to caterpillar to pupa and adult.

Humboldt Penguin

While many penguins do indeed live in the coldest climates known to man, this particular species calls the hot desert regions of Peru and Chile home. Visitors can delight in these kooky birds as they frolic on a rocky coast and watch them through a glass pane as they "fly" underwater.

Living Northwest Trail

If you ever find yourself hiking in the Pacific Northwest wilderness, you might end up coming fact to face with one of the species living in the Living Northwest Trail exhibit. Thousands of animals from brown bears and elk to snowy owls and mountain goats, call this living landscape home. Be sure to stop by Nysether Family River House where you may spot a bear catching a trout or river otters frolicking!

Temperate Forest

Woodland Park Zoo is situated in an ideal location for animals living in a temperate forest. Gaze at floof red pandas, social Chilean flamingos and long-legged maned wolves. Budding entomologists will get a kick out of Bug World, where the world of amazing arthropods-Earths' smallest animals-live virtually undetectable (or, in the case of the Mexican red-knee tarantula, very visibly) alongside us.


Coming in fall 2024, a refreshed Adaptations will introduce a new Indo-Pacific Islands forest that will showcased endangered and threatened species, featuring reptiles and amphibians, that range from the forest floors to the verdant treetops of Southeast Asia and Oceania. Visitor-favorite Komodo dragons, the largest lizards on the planet, will be a highlight of this new destination.

Tropical Asia

Sadly, the quickly vanishing forests of tropical Asia are home to the world's most endangered species. See if you can spot the magnificent Malayan tiger pensively watching you from the bush as you stroll by. You'll more than likely hear the Francois' langur's characteristic screech while exploring this habitat, and if you're really lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the arboreal monkey.

Tropical Rain Forest

Every level of the tropical rain forest from the moist floor to its sky-scraping canopy is teeming with life. You'll get a taste of what it's like to visit a real rain forest in this stunning exhibit. Spot a jaguar lounging along a warm, sandy shoreline or colobus monkey swinging with what appears to be careless abandon through the canopy. Stroll among free-flying birds in the aviary and encounter gorillas and lemurs on the outdoor loop.

Woodland Park Zoo Sensory Map

Woodland Park Zoo offers a sensory map to guide guests with different sensory needs to a variety of locations around the zoo where they can relax, romp and explore. They also provide a Zoomazium Social Story as a helpful guide to help guests familiarize themselves with the zoo before their visit. Lastly, fidget tools, noise cancelling headphones, weighted vests, pinwheels, etc. are also available. For details on all of the Woodland Park Zoo accessibility offerings please visit their official website at

Woodland Park Zoo Tickets

You can buy single pass tickets for Woodland Park Zoo online, by phone at 206-548-2500, or at the gate. If you are planning on visiting a few tourist destinations, check out Seattle CityPASS® tickets. It saves you money on admission to several of Seattle's best spots and provide great ideas on how to spend time in this memorable city. There's also an annual membership option for those who love revisiting the zoo, delighting in their favorite exhibits and excitedly exploring new ones.

Woodland Park Zoo Parking

There's plenty of parking for the thousands of visitors who journey to Woodland Park Zoo each year. Woodland Park Zoo offers ADA-accessible parking in the South Hippo Lot and the West Otter and Penguin Lots. Visitors who display a valid disabled parking placard in their vehicles do not have to pay parking fees.

Nearby Lodging

To get the most out of your stay in Seattle, we recommend finding lodging near Seattle's top attractions like Woodland Park Zoo. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:

With so much to explore, it's easy to see how you can spend several hours admiring all these incredible animals who populate every region on earth. Woodland Park Zoo is a joy for everyone from toddlers to seniors and provides a great way to spend a day or two making memories that last a lifetime!

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