Best Attractions & Activities: Encompassing some 65 wild acres in the midst of urban Seattle, this world-class zoo houses more than 1,000 animals from 290 species and draws over a million visitors annually. Lush, forest-like habitats replicate the wild, so exhibits closely resemble natural habitats. The Bug World exhinit is a favorite for children, with live creepy crawly specimens that include walking sticks, beetles, and ants. Other popular exhibits include the elephant forest, African savanna, snow leopards, and jaguars. In rain-prone Seattle, the zoo's multiple indoor exhibits and viewing areas keep the zoo experience from being deluged. are also available should the weather be uncooperative. Picnics are popular with the zoo crowd, but cafes and food kiosks cater to visitors, as well.
Holiday Attractions: WildLights kicks off at Woodland Park Zoo November 27 and continues through January 3, bringing back Seattle's wildest winter holiday lights festival presented by Sound Credit Union (5:30-8:30 p.m. nightly). Wild animals and wild places get re-created, as more than 600,000 energy-efficient LED lights grace the paths, landscaping and open spaces of the zoo. Visitors enjoy illuminated indoor and outdoor displays, rides on the zoo's decorated Historic Carousel (additional fee), even visits from a couple of reindeer. WildLights visitors can shake and shimmy to a music-synchronized light show experience. Festive snacks will be available for purchase during event nights, including hot chocolate and fudge puppies. While the zoo's animals will be tucked in for the night, the Day Exhibit, a showcase of reptiles and amphibians, and the Adaptations Building, featuring animals such as sloths, Indian flying foxes and meerkats, remain open for guests.
Things to Do with Kids, Outdoor Activities, Parks: Woodland Park, known for its exceptional zoo, has a lot of other things going for it. Located on approximately 90 acres, the multipurpose park and recreation space is just southwest of Green Lake and north of the Fremont district. Separated into two parts by Aurora Avenue, the part on the west of Aurora is largely occupied by the Woodland Park Zoo, but it also has picnic space, a formal rose garden, open space, and a play area for children. East of Aurora is an ideal spot for picnicking, and areas can be reserved. This area features barbecues, woods, grassy hills, and trails. Woodland Park also offers walking paths, several playfields, tennis courts, lawn bowling, horseshoe pits, a skatepark, and a large, wooded off-leash dog area.
Local Expert Corinne Whiting Says:
Best Attractions & Activities: "During summer months, Zoo Tunes brings an incredible lineup of musicians to an alfresco concert series that is certainly worth a visit (or several!)."
Holiday Attractions: "Look into discounts offered to WildLights patrons by nearby merchants. Note that WildLights will be closed December 24 and 25, parking is free on event nights, and admission is free for toddlers ages 0-2. (Visit zoo.org/wildlights for more information.)"
Things to Do with Kids: "If you're visiting in summertime, be sure to check out the concert line-up planned for the popular series Zoo Tunes. If you've never tried it, lawn bowling offers a unique new experience, and Woodland Park is home to a beautifully manicured set of lawn bowling greens at which to check out the relaxing and fun sport."
Outdoor Activities, Parks: "If you've never tried it, lawn bowling offers a unique new experience, and Woodland Park is home to a beautifully manicured set of lawn bowling greens at which to check out the relaxing and fun sport."
Recommended as Best Attractions & Activities Because: The Woodland Park Zoo brings more than 1,000 animals to a 65-acre space in urban Seattle.
Best for Holiday Attractions Because: WildLights, Seattle's brightest winter holiday festival, returns to the Woodland Park Zoo with thousands of LED lights, carolers and family-friendly activities.
Best for Things to Do with Kids Because: Woodland Park Zoo shows off cute, furry creatures and their larger cousins in lovely a setting that replicates natural habitats.
Best for Outdoor Activities Because: Woodland Park, known for its exceptional zoo, is a multipurpose park and recreation space just southwest of Green Lake, located on approximately 90 acres.
Best for Parks Because: Woodland Park, known for its exceptional zoo, also draws visitors to its 90 acres for recreational activities and summertime concerts.