Thursday, July 3, 2014

Woodland Park Zoo Visit and Review -- Everett, WA

Watching hippos eat their breakfast.
The husband and I took the kids and a friend to the Woodland Park Zoo, where we managed to walk through about two-thirds before lunch. This zoo is very large, and has some nifty amenities that make a go-to place even during the rainy season. We arrived at opening, shortly after all the animals had been fed, and the whole place smelled like oat hay. After raising rabbits and alpacas for many years, it was absolutely homey. We saw the elephants, giraffes, zebras, lions, hippopotamus, tapirs, orangutans, snakes, a lot of birds, and many other animals that I can't think of right now.
The orangutans also had hay.  They were using it to make nests.
The selection of birds was pretty impressive; they had many different kinds of fowl, including bufflehead ducks, pheasants, and even guinea hens. There were various cranes, and some keas, as well. In one of the aviaries, there were the most adorable Blue Jays (and I mean Blue Jay, not Western Scrub Jay like we see in the wild here), and they were so close -- they didn't seem afraid of us at all.

Elephant, elephant!
We saw a handler give one of the elephants a bath. They wash each elephant's feet several times a day to monitor its condition and keep it healthy. The elephants have a large barn that's sided with glass, so you can look inside from on the patio and watch without being disruptive.

Checking the map while riding on a hippo.
One nice aspect about it being so large is that it never felt crowded. There was enough space in between exhibits to give a bit of a breather in between crowds. On most of the walks between areas, there were things to look at; there were many statues that were available to look at, and in the case of my children, climb on. We didn't realized how crowded the zoo was until we went to get lunch, and there were tons of people.

Beating on the drums.  We were pretty loud.
In addition to the regular zoo fare, the Woodland Park zoo also offers an indoor play area. It had an area for little children to run around in, a playground with slides for older kids, and a variety of blocks and building toys. It was a welcome break for both us and the kids, as they could run around more and do some self-directed activities.
Hiding in a meerkat burrow.
Also in this building is the Nature Exchange, where you can bring in objects you've found in nature --like rocks, leaves, shells, and so on -- and then exchange them for points.  The more information you bring in with you, like if you research what kind of tree a leaf comes from, you get more points.  You can then trade those points for things in the zoo's nature collection.  The husband and I think this would be a great thing to incorporate into our homeschooling efforts, and would be something that the kids would like.  My middle boy all ready has a collection of pinecones, so we'd only need to collect information about them, and bring it with next time we go.
Trying to climb into the animal enclosure.
Next time we go, we're planning on hitting up the entomology building, the farm area, and the arctic area. We'll probably swing around to see the elephants again at the barn, because that's really cool.  And we're definitely going again.  All summer, and probably all winter, too.

I have no idea what's going on here.  I just thought the expressions were funny.

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