This blog post was updated on September 11, 2014.

Family Travel: Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Flickr: shannonkringen

 A Shot of a Lion in the Woodland Park Zoo!

I love taking my kids to the zoo.  I know that not everyone is in the same opinion, but it is honestly one of my all-time-favorite family activities.  In addition to feeling like you are at an amusement park, you get to spend time investigating the thousands of creatures that co-exist with us on planet earth.  Their similarities and differences are made clear, and I always walk away feeling a little more connected to our planet as a whole.

The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle is an award-winning zoo that led the way with immersion exhibits, where the animals are free to roam in more natural habitats than typical zoo enclosures.  Here are a few must-stops to take the kids to:

Tropical Rain Forest

In this exhibit, you'll encounter jaguars, a variety of monkeys, and the sprawling gorilla exhibit (whose 1970s design was critical to the immersion exhibit trend). 


Your kids will love scampering about and running amuck in this nature inspired children's playspace.  You'll love the focus on its energy-saving design:  The green roof is quite literal, with thousands of plants growing right on top.  The interactive programs at Zoomazium help connect you and your kids to the animal and plant world.

Northern Trail

See a taste of the Alaskan wilderness much closer to home.  A walk through this section of the park takes you on a recreated Denali National Park trail past gray wolves, grizzly bears, bald eagles, and arctic foxes.

African Savanna

The first zoo to create this type of sprawling, interconnected landscape, the African Savanna was built in 1980.  Major updates in 2007 offer your family the chance to experience not only the animals of Africa, such as giraffes, gazelles, hippopotami, lions, and ostriches, but also the culture of East African people, and the role you can play in sustainably managing the planet's animals, plants, and resources. 

Other great exhibits in the zoo include Tropical Asia (home to my personal favorite, the orangutan), Australasia, the Temperate Forest, a tiger enclosure, raptor center, and Family Farm, where your littlest ones can encounter kid-friendly farm animals up close.  Before you leave, be sure to take your kids for a spin on the Woodland Park Zoo Carousel which was hand carved in 1918.

Inspired to take a Seattle family vacation now? Get cheap tickets today and use promo code SM17 to take up to $17 off when you book!

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photo: shannonkringen

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