In Woodland Park, up the hill from Green Lake Park, the Woodland Park Zoo is one of Seattle's greatest tourist attractions, consistently rated as one of the top 10 zoos in the country. It was one of the first in the nation to free animals from their restrictive cages in favor of ecosystem enclosures, where animals from similar environments share large spaces designed to replicate their natural surroundings.
The Woodland Park Zoo thrills with superb attractions including such exhibits as a tropical rain forest, two gorilla exhibits, and an African savanna. One of the best exhibits is the brown bear enclosure, which realistically resembles an Alaskan stream and hillside. Another highlight is the elephant forest, where the zoo’s pachyderms have plenty of space to rumble around. For kids, there’s the farm-animal area and the interactive Zoomazium, where kids can see what its like to be wild animals.
Woodland Park Zoo is located in North Seattle, about 20 minutes from downtown. To get here by car, take Interstate-5 north to Exit 169, then west to the South Entrance at North 50th Street and Fremont Avenue North. You can also get here from downtown by bus.
Dining options at Woodland Park Zoo include the Rainforest Food Pavilion for fine dining and the Pacific Blue Chowder House for seafood under the sun. If you have time, stop by the Zoo Store to for animal toys and an array of books, jewelry, arts, and crafts.