Woodland Park Zoo
A community resource for more than 110 years
Our mission: Woodland Park Zoo saves animals and their habitats through conservation leadership and engaging experiences, inspiring people to learn, care and act.
For more than 110 years, Woodland Park Zoo has been a cherished community resource and a unique urban oasis. Generations of Puget Sound families have come to the zoo to marvel at the animals and be inspired by the peaceful and beautiful surroundings.
For more than 110 years, Woodland Park Zoo has served as an urban oasis, gathering generations of people together to enjoy the natural world. In the late 1880s, Guy Phinney, a wealthy sawmill owner, purchased a large tract of forest land about six miles north of downtown Seattle. On December 28, 1899, several years after Phinney’s death, the City of Seattle purchased the estate for $100,000.
The zoo spans 92 acres, 65 of which are developed as exhibits and public spaces. The remainder is devoted to administrative offices, a buffer zone and a neighborhood park.
October 1 - April 30: 9:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. May 1 - September 30: 9:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Woodland Park Zoo is open every day except Christmas Day.
October 1 - April 30: Adult (13-64) $11.75; Child (3-12) $8.50; Toddler (0-2) Free. May 1 - September 30: Adult (13-64) $17.75; Child (3-12) $11.50; Toddler (0-2) Free. Seniors and people with physical disabilities receive a $2 discount and zoo members receive free zoo admission year-round. Parking: $5.25.
Animal care professionals at Woodland Park Zoo are experts in their field and provide the highest quality care for animals every day. The zoo manages the largest live animal collection in Washington state, with 1,000 animals, representing more than 300 species plus 68 species of invertebrates. The zoo provides a home for 35 endangered and five threatened animal species. The zoo’s botanical collection includes more than 92,000 plants and trees representing more than 1,000 species.
Woodland Park Zoo Management
In 2002, the City of Seattle transferred management and financial responsibility of Woodland Park Zoo to the Woodland Park Zoological Society. Founded in 1965, the nonprofit Society initially served as the zoo’s fundraising partner, but over the years has taken on an increasing number of responsibilities, such as marketing and membership. A 47-person, volunteer Board of Directors governs the Zoo Society with eight Board committees providing forums for information sharing between the Board and staff for various areas of zoo administration. The President and CEO reports to the Board and supervises all zoo staff. The City of Seattle continues to own the zoo grounds and exhibits.
The zoo currently has nearly 38,000 member households ranging from individual to family. The zoo boasts one of the highest membership bases among Puget Sound area attractions and museums. Membership dues support top-notch animal care, operations, exhibit improvements, conservation initiatives around the world and education programs.
The zoo serves a large regional audience and is a major Washington state attraction, drawing more than a million visitors annually. In 2011, more than 1.09 million guests visited the zoo to learn about the important connections between plants, animals, habitats and people (peak months are May through September).
Through funding provided by the zoo’s Partners for Wildlife, Wildlife Survival Fund, and the contributions of zoo members and donors, the zoo is supporting conservation of wildlife, preserving fragile habitats, and increasing public awareness for wildlife and environmental issues. The zoo currently partners with 36 field conservation projects taking place in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. These include some of the smallest life forms – the endangered Oregon silverspot butterfly – to the largest mammals on land – the African elephant.
As the Washington hub for excellence in conservation education, the zoo’s programs are grounded in a robust, science and outcomes-based framework for inspiring conservation. The guiding framework for program development is: connecting children to nature, developing ecological literacy and providing pathways to conservation. From early learners to senior learners, and on and off grounds, the zoo’s developmental approach to lifelong learning is to foster empathy for nature, build conservation knowledge and skills, and increase people’s personal ownership for action that benefits wildlife and habitats. In 2011, more than 730,000 visitors participated in the zoo’s public programs and nearly 88,000 students, teachers and chaperones visited the zoo in school groups or received a zoo outreach program. The many educational elements at the zoo – classes, public programs, signage, and volunteer activities – serve to illustrate the importance that conservation plays in our mission.
Both zoo revenues and expenses for 2012 are expected to decrease slightly over 2011. Consolidated revenues of operating and capital for 2012 are budgeted at $36 million. Earned revenues (admissions, membership, community events, etc.) account for 50% of total operating revenues. Public funding sources provide 32% of the zoo’s support, including revenue from both the city of Seattle and King County. Private contributions provide the remaining 18%.
There are approximately 257 full- and part-time employees as well as 100-150 temporary employees in departments such as administration, admissions, animal health, animal management, commissary, creative services, education, exhibits improvement, horticulture, maintenance, planning and development, marketing, membership, public relations and guest services.
In 2011, 1,117 volunteers donated their time to the zoo. This included 760 zoo volunteers and 13 service project groups (357 individuals) that together contributed 79,638 hours of service to the zoo, valued at more than $1.5 million as an in-kind donation.
Award-winning Exhibits and Programs
Woodland Park Zoo is famed for creating revolutionary naturalistic exhibits that began a shift that changed the face of zoos worldwide. The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) has honored the zoo with seven major exhibit awards: Humboldt penguin, Jaguar Cove, Trail of Vines, Northern Trail, Tropical Rain Forest, Elephant Forest and African Savanna.
Other major awards by AZA include the top education award for its 4th and 5th grade Ready, Set, Discover program, and significant achievement for the zoo’s Wild Wise statewide schools program, Masaai Cultural Interpreter program and comprehensive sustainability program.
From barbecues for 5,000 in the North Meadow and weddings in the Woodland Park Rose Garden, to formal receptions in the Rain Forest Food Pavilion and picnics in the Picnic Shelter, the zoo offers exciting venues and menus for special events. Tours, animal encounters and activities are available, as well as the zoo’s own Lancer Catering and event staff to ensure every event is zoorific.
For information about zoo events, membership, private or corporate events, education programs, fundraising and more, call 206.548.2500 or 206.548.2599 (TTY). Or visit www.zoo.org.