Saturday is the grand opening of both the Woodland Park Zoo’s new West Entrance and its new meerkats exhibit. The new West Entrance on Phinney Avenue between North 55th and 56th streets will be much larger than the current one, and will feature more cashiers, a zoo store and restrooms. The North Entrance will be closed, but a new pathway leads from the North parking lot to the West Entrance.
The meerkats are returning after a 10-year absence. They’ll be housed in the revamped Adaptations building.
The meerkat exhibit, presented by U.S. Bank and The Seattle Times, gives visitors an inside look at the animals’ semi-arid savanna habitat. Observe as meerkats scamper into their tunnels, nurse their young, or stand at attention atop the naturalistic outcroppings behaving as sentinels. Kids can play as sentinels and look out for predators, or pop up into a burrow and experience the co-op life, in an all new play area located adjacent to the Adaptations Building. Encouraging full-bodied play, this play area will allow kids to connect with the fascinating lifestyle of these tunneling creatures.
(Photos by Ryan Hawk, WPZ.)
Opening day festivities include live music by CocoLoco, fun meerkat-themed giveaways including magnets, stickers, and temporary tattoos, photo opportunities with a costumed meerkat mascot, a meerkat mask craft and other family activities, and a special meerkat keeper talk.
The grand opening festivities start at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the new West Entrance complex. CocoLoco performs until 1 p.m. The meerkat keeper talk is at 2:30 p.m. at the meerkat exhibit inside the Adaptations Building, across from the Pacific Blue Chowder House.
It’s also the first day of the zoo’s expanded summer hours, which are 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.