Forest Trailhead

Find Your Path in the Global Movement

ABOUT THE EXHIBIT

 

Up in the Treetops, Get a New View of Your Zoo

Opening in 2026


What do animals such as Papua New Guinea’s Matschie’s tree kangaroos and Nepal’s red pandas have in common? They are the faces of forests where conservation has become a community movement. We need forests and now, with the health of the world’s forests at risk, forests need us. Only when forests thrive can nature reach its full potential as a climate solution.

Picture the stories of these animals and more in the new Forest Trailhead exhibit experience coming to Woodland Park Zoo in 2026. Following a competitive process, the zoo has selected the Seattle-based LMN Architects as principal architects with CLR Design (Philadelphia and Capistrano Beach, Calif.) as habitat designers for the project, which will be on the site of the former Day and Night Exhibits.

The Day and Night Exhibits closed permanently after a fire in December 2016 caused extensive structural damage to the aging building; more than 180 animals were safely evacuated by animal keepers and the Seattle Fire Department. Since the fire, most of the displaced animals—reptiles and amphibians—have been placed at other accredited zoos. A Matschie’s tree kangaroo, which was also housed in the building, remains at the zoo with other members of the species in non-public areas.

Now after the completion of a multi-year insurance review and negotiation, the zoo—along with local and global communities—is envisioning the next opportunity to bring together animals, people, and conservation at the heart of the zoo’s 92-acre urban forest.

 

 

According to the climate action consortium Framing Our Future, of which the zoo is an inaugural partner, protecting forests and nature can provide as much as one-third of the climate action needed to reach global climate goals by 2030. That’s why the exhibit experience will share the empowering story of the Papua New Guinea communities that have been working with Woodland Park Zoo’s Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program for over 25 years to save one of the last intact cloud forests of the world.

Guests will discover their own everyday connections to such communities and animals through the forest-friendly consumer choices they can make daily at home, in the office, at school, during a zoo visit, in their community and at the polls—to make lasting and impactful change.

 

 

Make a Seed Gift to the New Exhibit



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If you are interested in making a gift of stock or securities, please contact Sarah Valentine,
Vice President of Development, at sarah.valentine@zoo.org or 206-548-2624. Thank you!

Exhibit Highlights

 

A New Experience

The new Forest Trailhead experience will build on Woodland Park Zoo’s global conservation work, motivate guests to act to conserve forest habitats, and feature vulnerable and endangered animals representing forests of the world, including tree kangaroos. Much-adored red pandas, colorful birds and fascinating reptiles and invertebrates will also make their home in the new forest.

 



Canopy Path


Wander among the treetops where tree kangaroos and red pandas make their home on this two-story elevated pathway offering viewpoints unlike anywhere else in the zoo.

Image provided by LMN Architects



Trailhead Pavilion


Meet the wonders of wildlife at all layers of the forest in the Habitat Gallery featuring boisterous keas, tree-dwelling reptiles, colorful amphibians, and fascinating invertebrates.

Image provided by LMN Architects



Conservation Action


Discover how endangered wildlife is linked to your everyday consumer choices and practice forest-friendly actions at the zoo, from sipping shade-grown coffee to upcycling green materials.

Image provided by LMN Architects



Community Power


Connect to global communities in mountain forests much like the Pacific Northwest who are leading solutions to protect, restore and sustain forests for animals and people.

Image provided by LMN Architects

 

Our Mission

Woodland Park Zoo saves wildlife and inspires everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives.

Land Acknowledgment

Woodland Park Zoo recognizes that these are the lands of the Tribal signatories of the Treaty of Point Elliott. We acknowledge their stewardship of this place continues to this day and that it is our responsibility to join them to restore the relationship with the living world around us.

Humane Certification
Seattle Parks & Recreation
Association of Zoos & Aquariums

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