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New Zoo entrance opens, meerkats make debut

Latin music, a ribbon cutting and other festivities ushered in Woodland Park Zoo’s new West Entrance and its new meerkats exhibit this morning.

The new entrance on Phinney Avenue between North 55th and 56th streets features a wide walkway winding its way down to a large central courtyard framed by a long ticketing area. The upbeat Latin sounds of CocoLoco brightened the atmosphere on an otherwise gray, but dry, day.  

“It’s so open,” said zoo spokesperson Gigi Allianic of the new entrance. “It’s a nice welcoming space.”

Whether it was the more inviting environs, or an improved setup, ticketing seemed to be much faster than at the old west entrance where long lines were common. Allianic said the true test will be on a warm, sunny, summer day, when crowds are at their peak.

Many zoo visitors who made a beeline for the heavily advertised meerkat exhibit were not disappointed by the playful, scampering animals.