- Mon: 9am-5:30pm
- Tue: 8am-5:30pm
- Wed: 8am-5:30pm
- Thu: 8am-5:30pm
- Fri: 8am-5:30pm
Woodland Park Zoo has been hailed as one of the finest zoos in the world for its award-winning exhibits. The zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals, representing 300 species from across the globe, from tiny insects to the largest land mammal on earth, the African elephant. This cherished Seattle landmark, enjoyed by visitors of all ages, is best known for creating revolutionary naturalistic exhibits which mimic the natural habitats each animal is from, ultimately changing the face of zoos worldwide.
Best and worst time to go to Woodland Park Zoo
If you want to enjoy the animals when they're at their most active, and crowds are few, go to the zoo on a cloudy weekday morning when school is in session, from about mid-October to mid-April. If you have kids that are in school and can't make it then, your next best choice is a Sunday morning during NFL season when many families are busy watching the game. The worst time to go is in the middle of the day during the months of June, July and August, whether it's the weekend or a weekday. Not only do the animals tend to be more lethargic due to the heat, this is when the zoo packs in the biggest crowds.
Must see/do at Woodland Park Zoo
The Humboldt Penguins are a favorite with many visitors, especially when they're active. Look through the glass viewing window, and you might just get a close up look to see a penguin peering right back at you. The African Savanna exhibit, the first of its kind when it opened in 1980, is also a must-visit with the chance to see animals like zebras, hippos, lions, tigers, meerkats, gorillas and giraffe. If you time your visit right, you can even feed the giraffes while standing atop a raised platform from 10 to 11 a.m. and 3 to 4 p.m. daily, except Tuesdays. The Australasia section, just a short stroll away, is another must, home to wallaby, snow leopards, emus and kookaburras, as well as the Willawong Station. In this enclosed area, birds like parrots, cockatiels and parakeets fly free, and visitors can feed the birds buy purchasing a wooden stick with food on it.
Parking at Woodland Park Zoo
The zoo offers parking in five lots, with pay-for-parking kiosks in each lot. Arrive early as they fill up quickly, especially during the summer months. If you don't find a spot, you'll need to look for street parking in the surrounding neighborhood.
Food at Woodland Park Zoo
Concession stands can be found throughout the zoo, serving everything from popcorn to ice cream and pizza. The Rain Forest Food Pavilion is great for families, with a variety of dishes sure to please everyone, including kids' meals and even options for the health conscious like burgers made from hormone-free, grass-fed, free-roaming cattle. Seafood lovers will want to head to the Pacific Blue Chowder House, offering meals that include items like wild-caught shrimp and salmon.
Insider Tip for Visitors to Woodland Park Zoo
Before you go, be sure to check the "Today at the Zoo" section on the official zoo website. Here you can find out about special daily activities and specific schedules that can help you make the most out of your day at the zoo, including zookeeper talks, feeding experiences and more.
K.C. Dermody is a travel writer living in the Seattle area with hundreds of travel articles both online and in print. She has traveled the world and is the author of 'Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland,' but especially loves showing off the beautiful region she resides in.