Zoo kicks off summer with new exhibits
This May, the summer season kicks off at Woodland Park Zoo with a new penguin exhibit, interactive experiences, numerous animal additions, and important changes to the zoo’s food, parking and ticketing services.
“For fun, engaging encounters that the whole family will enjoy, there’s no place like Woodland Park Zoo in summer 2009,” according to Dr. Deborah Jensen, the zoo’s president and chief executive officer.
Among the most anticipated summer highlights is the return of penguins to Seattle. Humboldt penguins will debut on May 2 in their all-new, 17,000-square-foot exhibit that recreates the rocky shores of Peru’s desert coast.
Visitors can get nose-to-beak with the penguins through dramatic underwater views, and see the birds preen, porpoise and squabble over territory. The sustainable exhibit features a filtration system that will save 3 million gallons of water each year, and a special design to catch all stormwater runoff, preventing the pollution of local water sources. Geothermal wells will heat and cool the penguins’ pool, greatly reducing electricity costs.
Belt-tightening in response to the slowdown in the economy, however, has led to the decision to not open the seasonal Butterflies and Blooms exhibit in summer 2009 to save on operation costs.
“Looking forward,” Jensen said, “it is crucial that we be able to manage costs while still providing a great guest experience overall. Families throughout the region will be looking for fun, affordable activities this year, and we will have exciting new experiences ready for them.”
Some of those new experiences include the addition of several animals to popular exhibits this year, including a new silverback western lowland gorilla, new residents to the African Savanna including two new giraffes and an ostrich, and the debut of the first tree kangaroo to join the zoo’s collection in more than two years.
Summer favorites like daily giraffe feedings in the African Savanna, daily bird feedings at Willawong Station, and the historic carousel will return with the start of the summer season on May 1. The new season will also bring increased programming on zoo grounds including keeper talks, raptor flight demonstrations, live animal encounters, cultural interpreters, daily penguin programs, and outdoor scavenger hunts in Zoomazium’s Backyard.
And families will be able to earn an exclusive Woodland Park Zoo sticker in exchange for taking easy conservation actions to “Share the Habitat” right on zoo grounds all summer long!
All this activity making you hungry? Visitors will notice better food, more variety and lower food prices at the zoo this summer with a new food service provider, Lancer Hospitality. Lancer plans to improve the quality of the zoo’s food service program by showcasing talented culinary staff preparing fresh food visible to the public, sourcing more local products and renovating the existing food service facilities.
The Boardwalk Sausage Company will reopen this spring as the Pacific Blue Chowder House. There you can enjoy a cup of shade-grown coffee or an ocean-friendly bowl of chowder made from sustainably harvested seafood.
Summer rates beginning May 1 are $16.50 for adults (13-64) and $11 for children (3-12). Admission remains free for toddlers (0-2) and members, and discounts are offered to seniors (65+) and people with disabilities. Admission fees will revert to the current winter rates in October.
Visitors can take advantage of a special discount this summer by printing an admission coupon—$2.00 off regular price admission for up to four people—available on the zoo’s Web site May 1.
An improved parking service began April 1, allowing visitors to pay the $5 parking fee at solar-powered pay stations, and thus reducing overall transaction times in zoo admission lines. To reduce carbon emissions, visitors are encouraged to take the bus.
Call Metro at 206.553.3000 for bus service to the zoo.
The zoo’s summer season runs May 1 through Sept. 30, 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily.