A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods


Zoo announces three concerts for this summer’s ZooTunes

March 14th, 2017 by Doree

Woodland Park Zoo has announced three of its ZooTunes concerts this summer. Seu Jorge presents The Life Aquatic: A Tribute to David Bowie on June 20; Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo with Rick Springfield play Aug. 15; and St. Paul & The Broken Bones and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue perform Aug. 20.

More concerts will be announced soon.

Tickets are available online beginning at 10 a.m. Friday, and also at zoo gates during zoo hours. Zoo members can access the ZooTunes presale beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday. (Members will receive an exclusive pre-sale code by email.)

Doors will open a half hour earlier this year than usual – at 4:30 p.m. – to allow for every bag to be checked by security. Concerts begin at 6 p.m. and are rain or shine (no refunds or exchanges).

One child age 12 or under is admitted free with each paid ticket (child vouchers are required and can be printed online with purchased tickets or picked up at purchase locations.) Concert-goers may purchase up to eight general admission tickets per show.

A limited number of reserved seat tickets are available for each show, with premium seating (chair provided) and special parking. Upgrades must be purchased online. Children 12 and under require a separately purchased reserved ticket to access the reserved area.

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Woodland Park Zoo giraffe expecting first baby

February 14th, 2017 by Doree

Woodland Park Zoo’s 8-year-old giraffe, Tufani, is expecting her first baby sometime mid-May to early July.

The giraffe gestation period ranges from 14-15 months. The father is 4-year-old Dave, who arrived at the zoo in June 2014.

Woodland Park Zoo giraffes Misawa, Tufani and Olivia. Photo by Dennis Dow, WPZ.

You can learn more about Tufani (too-fawn-ee) and Dave on the zoo’s blog.

To confirm Tufani’s pregnancy, animal care staff collected her fecal samples every other day for one month in the fall, when she was in her second trimester, and then sent the samples to a lab for testing. While the lab test confirmed Tufani’s pregnancy, the zoo’s animal care staff advises that animal pregnancies cannot be 100 percent confirmed until the baby is born. “Due to the long gestation period, signs of pregnancy can be difficult to detect early on,” said Katie Ahl, zookeeper at Woodland Park Zoo. “For those of us who work with Tufani on a daily basis we can see how her physical appearance has changed. That combined with the lab results make us confident she is pregnant.”

Though Tufani will not have a visible bump until closer to her birth window, animal care staff note her belly has started to round out. “If you know what you’re looking for, you can see it,” said Ahl. “She’s now in her third trimester so she’s really starting to show; and she’ll only get bigger from here.”

Tufani’s baby would mark the second viable giraffe birth at Woodland Park Zoo since 1997, the first being Misawa who was born in August 2013. Misawa, famously known as the “grumpy face” giraffe, captured the hearts of zoo visitors as they watched him grow from a 6-foot-tall curious calf into a 12-foot-tall loving, adventurous adult. In September 2015, Misawa moved to Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas to begin his own family. His father Chioke passed away before he was born but his mother Olivia still resides at Woodland Park Zoo; she is Tufani’s older sister.

Tufani will remain on exhibit at African Savanna with Dave and Olivia until she has the baby. Starting May 1, visitors can visit Tufani, Dave and Olivia at the up close giraffe experience (hours to be determined, visit www.zoo.org for more information).

Giraffes give birth while standing, and the calf drops 5 feet from the ground as it is born. About 6 foot tall at birth, infants usually stand within half an hour after birth and can run around with their moms several hours later.

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Update to Woodland Park Zoo fire: It’s likely 6 hibernating turtles died

December 16th, 2016 by Doree

Woodland Park Zoo has announced that yesterday’s fire in the Night Exhibit building likely killed six hibernating turtles. While the building has been closed since 2010 due to funding issues and most of the animals moved to other exhibits and institutions, turtles hibernating in the winter were placed in a special room of the building’s basement.


SFD and our animal care staff worked together to evacuate over 200 animals from the adjacent Day Exhibit. Additional staff from all over the zoo helped by gathering transport crates, and bringing blankets for animals and warm jackets for staff standing outside. Evacuated animals were swiftly transported into vehicles and transferred to warm, safe locations around the zoo.

Rescued animals include reptiles, amphibians and a tree kangaroo. Our Animal Health team performed health assessments last night, and are continuing throughout the day today.

While the Night Exhibit has been closed to the public for nearly seven years and has no longer housed animals, a special room in the basement was used for turtles hibernating in the winter. Sadly, it is highly likely that six turtles hibernating in this room have perished in the fire.

Seattle Fire Department released a statement today saying two firefighters were injured, one with minor burns, the other from possible contact with an electrical panel. Both were treated and released from Harborview Medical Center.

Damage was estimated at $1.5 million dollars, but the cause of the fire could not be determined, “due to structural instability and partial collapse.”

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BREAKING: Fire in empty nocturnal exhibit at Woodland Park Zoo

December 15th, 2016 by Doree

Update 7 p.m.: The zoo plans to reopen at 11 a.m. Friday, and will present WildLights Friday evening as usual.

Update 5:30 p.m.: The fire has been contained.

Update 4:45 p.m.: Woodland Park Zoo has canceled tonight’s WildLights because of the fire. One person was transported to Harborview Medical Center with minor burns. Animals in the nearby Day Exhibit building were being moved as a precaution.

Earlier: Seattle Fire Department is battling a fire in the Night Exhibit at Woodland Park Zoo. That building was closed in 2010, so no animals were hurt.

Zoo Spokesperson Gigi Allianic told me they don’t yet know how the fire started. The zoo was evacuated after the fire started about 3:10 p.m. The zoo was already scheduled to close at 4 p.m., its winter closing time.

You can see raw video from KING 5 here. KIRO 7 has some closeup video of the flames.

We will update this post as we know more.

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Woodland Park Zoo WildLights is Nov. 25 through Jan. 1

November 18th, 2016 by Doree

Woodland Park Zoo’s 5th annual WildLights holiday event begins the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 25, and runs through Jan. 1, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. daily, except Dec. 24-25.

More than 600,000 lights transform indoor and outdoor exhibits. Plus there’s real reindeer, fake snowball fights inside “Snowmazium” (Zoomazium), photos with Santa for an additional fee, traditional carolers, a peacock scavenger hunt, and the Historical Carousel with be open for rides for an additional fee.


The southwest corner of the Rain Forest Food Pavilion will be the Winter Warm Up area and is open every night to guests of all ages. Food and beverages will be available for purchase, including mini donuts, apple fritters, chowder, chili, pizza, hot cider, hot cocoa, coffee, espresso, hot tea, soda and water; plus beer, spiked hot cider, wine and mulled wine for adults 21 and older.

New this year is a special Pokémon Go Night on Nov. 30, where Snowmazium becomes a Pokemon Gym, the Rain Forest Food Pavilion becomes Trainer Headquarters, and lots of Pokemon lures will be dropped around zoo grounds.

And on Dec. 12 it’s Seahawks Night, where you can meet and get a photo with team mascot Blitz and go on a Seahawks Scavenger Hunt.

Santa will be there every Friday, Saturday and Sunday before Christmas, plus Dec. 19 and 23.

Tickets are available in advance online or at zoo gates during regular zoo hours. Night-of-event tickets will be sold at the zoo’s West Entrance, if not sold out. WildLights is rain or shine, no ticket refunds. Adults (age 13+), $9.95; children 3-12, $7.95; toddlers 2 and under are free. Zoo members get $2 off adult tickets purchased through Dec. 9.

Enter through the zoo’s West Entrance on Phinney Avenue North between North 55th and 56th streets. Free parking is available in the Penguin, Otter and Bear parking lots. The Hippo and Flamingo lots will open as needed.

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Woodland Park Zoo hosts Youth Climate Action Summit for teens to tackle climate change

September 26th, 2016 by Doree

Woodland Park Zoo and the Seattle Youth Climate Action Network are hosting the second annual Youth Climate Action Summit from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Sunday, Oct. 2, at the zoo. Seattle-area teens will discuss climate science and how to combat climate change with local climate professionals during interactive workshops.

All teens in the greater Seattle area are encouraged to attend. The summit is at the zoo’s Education Center, inside the zoo near the South Entrance at North 50th Street and Fremont Avenue North. The summit is free. Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be provided. Register online.

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Woodland Park Zoo’s annual fall Fecal Fest kicks off Aug. 22

August 18th, 2016 by Doree

Woodland Park Zoo’s annual fall Fecal Fest begins Aug. 22 for gardeners wanting to score some Zoo Doo by lottery. Zoo Doo is composed of feces from the zoo’s non-primate herbivores such as tapirs, hippos and giraffes. There’s a limited supply of Zoo Doo this year, so it’s only available in 5-, 32- and 50-gallon amounts, with a maximum of 100 gallons per person. No truck loads are available.

However, Bedspread, the zoo’s composted mulch, is available by the truck load. “Bedspread is a combination of Zoo Doo, sawdust, and large amounts of wood chips and is used to cushion perennial beds and woody landscapes including rose beds, shrubs and pathways. Apply it this fall and protect your soil all winter.”

Also available for the first time is Worm Doo, usually reserved for the zoo’s greenhouse. “Worm Doo is worm castings made from Woodland Park Zoo’s Zoo Doo compost and zoo coffee grounds. It is an exceptional rich soil and microbial diverse soil amendment recommended for seedlings, potted plants or in the garden. It’s been pooped once by exotic herbivores and pooped again by compost loving worms.” Worm Doo will be sold in pint-sized containers at ZooStores for $7 starting Aug. 22 while supplies last.

To enter the lottery for the opportunity to purchase Zoo Doo or Bedspread, you must fill out the online form at zoo.org/fecalfest from Aug. 22 to Sept. 14. Only one entry per person for each drawing. Winners will be able to pick up their prize from Sept. 24 to Oct. 15.

Zoo Doo: 5 gallons $5; 10 gallons $10; 25 gallons $15; 50 gallons $20. Limited to 100 gallons per recipient. No truckloads. Pint-sized buckets are available at ZooStores for $4.95.

Bedspread: Pick-up truck 8×4 bed: $60; 6×4 bed: $50; 6×3 bed: $40. Winners can get up to two full truckloads per person.

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Woodland Park Zoo celebrates neighbors at Hoot for the Hood on June 24

June 6th, 2016 by Doree

Neighbors of Woodland Park Zoo are invited to its annual Hoot for the Hood neighbor celebration from 6:30-8 p.m. on Friday, June 24.

Join your neighbors at the zoo for an after-work mix and mingle. Chat with other community members, cool down with ice cream and enjoy a walk through our recently opened Banyan Wilds exhibit, home to Malayan tigers.

The event is free and parking that evening also is free. Use the West Plaza entrance on Phinney Avenue North between North 55th and 56th streets.

The zoo says the event is “for our closest neighbors in Phinney Ridge, Wallingford, Fremont and Green Lake.” You can RSVP online.

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Zoo’s new red panda now on view to the public

April 8th, 2016 by Doree

Woodland Park Zoo’s new red panda, who arrived in February from Lincoln Children’s Zoo in Nebraska, is now on exhibit in the Wildlife Survival Zone. Carson was named after Tonight Show host Johnny Carson.

Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo.

Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo.

Currently, the zoo’s other male red panda, 10-year-old Yukiko, and Stellar, the zoo’s 8-year-old female red panda, live off exhibit where the two can spend time together through the breeding season and beyond. The zoo hopes for a baby red panda in the near future.

Red pandas share the name of giant pandas, but more closely resemble raccoons. While scientists still debate which family red pandas belong to — raccoons or giant pandas — recent studies suggest that they are equally related to three different groups of animals that include skunks, weasels and raccoons.

In the wild, fewer than 10,000 red pandas remain in their native habitat of bamboo forests in China, the Himalayas and Myanmar, and share part of their range with giant pandas. Their numbers are declining due to deforestation, increased agriculture and cattle grazing, and continuing pressure from growing local populations.

In the wild, red pandas primarily eat bamboo shoots and leaves, grasses, roots, fruits, lichens and acorns. They occasionally eat insects, eggs, young birds and small rodents. At the zoo, red pandas are fed leaf-eater biscuits, bamboo, and various fruits and berries.

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