SEATTLE – Woodland Park Zoo will open the first phase of its new Asian tropical forest exhibit in 2013, including Asian small-clawed otters, a tropical aviary and kid’s nature play area. In addition, the public is expected to get its first look at the zoo’s four new lion cubs in late spring.
These exciting additions to the zoo are a part of the continued planning as the zoo explores new programs, events and exhibits that engage Washington families every day of the year.
In 2012, for the 12th year in a row, Woodland Park Zoo welcomed more than one million visitors through its gates. It also began construction of the new Asian tropical forest exhibit, which, when complete, will be the largest new exhibit to be built at the zoo in more than 15 years. Additionally, the zoo introduced the inaugural WildLights winter festival and celebrated the first birth of lions at the zoo in 20 years.
“We had a very successful year in 2012, and we hope our new exhibit and new animals will make 2013 even better,” said Dr. Deborah Jensen, the zoo’s president and CEO.
The zoo hopes to delight visitors with new experiences at the center of the zoo as it opens phase one of the new Asian tropical forest exhibit this spring. Construction for the new, state-of-the-art exhibit complex began last year as part of the More Wonder More Wild Campaign. Opening to the public in May, phase one of the 2-acre exhibit complex will feature Asian small-clawed otters, a tropical aviary and a kid’s nature play area. Upon completion, phase two of the exhibit complex will house Malayan tigers and sloth bears, including the newborn sloth bear cub born last month.
“We are in the home stretch of our $80 million More Wonder More Wild Campaign,” Jensen said, noting that about $9.7 million remains to be raised for the Asian Tropical Forest Initiative. “We are very grateful for our community’s generous support. They recognize our zoo as a treasured community asset, and we truly appreciate their investment in helping ensure a sustainable future for wildlife and people locally and around the world,” Jensen said.
“Tiger conservation will be at the heart of the Asian tropical forest exhibit with the Conservation Action Center,” added Jensen. “The educational hub will allow visitors to connect with real success stories from our field conservation partners, learn about the global tiger recovery plan, and how living with predators is a key challenge both in the Northwest and around the world.”
WildLights, the zoo’s first ever winter lights festival debuted this season, giving visitors the chance to see the zoo in a whole new light. Ice sculpting, illuminated displays and strolling carolers, among a plethora of festive entertainment, attracted more than 66,000 visitors to WildLights.
Woodland Park Zoo also celebrated the first birth of African lions in 20 years when lion pair Hubert and Adia welcomed four bundles of joy in November. The two boy and two girl cubs continue to bond with their mother in the off-view maternity den. Their inquisitive, playful personalities have been captured on camera, making them a big hit on the zoo’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channel.
To help offset increasing operating costs and continue the zoo’s exemplary animal care, engaging education programs and wildlife conservation projects locally and around the world, visitors will see a dollar increase in adult admission and 25 cents in children’s admission fees. Effective immediately, winter fees for adults are $12.75, and children ages 3-12 are $8.75. Beginning May 1, the summer season admission rates will be $18.75 for adults; $11.75 for children and toddlers 2 and under are free.