Visit some wild, woolly and four-legged neighbors while helping out some hungry neighbors — it's a community win-win.
Marking a traditional month of feasting, as well as its 40th anniversary in 2015, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park announced a special offer for visitors during the month of November: Bring at least two non-perishable food donations and receive half off the price of regular admission.
Northwest Trek is an open-range zoo and park dedicated to conservation, education and recreation through showcasing and researching Northwest native wildlife and their natural habitats. Many resident animals inhabit an open-range area and are viewed by visitors from a tram, while other animals reside in enclosures.
Admission prices range from $8.25 to $19.75 per person, depending on age and Pierce County residency, and children ages 2 and under are free. The "Help Out for Half Off" discount admission offer applies to all visitors, both adults and children.
“As we conclude the year in which Northwest Trek celebrated its 40th anniversary, we think it’s fitting to give back to the community that has supported us for four decades,” said Northwest Trek Deputy Director Alan Varsik in a statement. He added that the food collection program "provides much-needed donations of canned goods and other non-perishable items at a time of year when food banks are stretched to meet the needs in the community.”
Cooler, rainier weather might seem more suited to indoor venues, but November is actually a great time to visit Northwest Trek. Fewer crowds mean even better opportunities to get up-close views of animals in their native habitat. Admission to the park includes a ride in a heated tram that transports visitors through the 435-acre free-range area to see American bison, Roosevelt elk, bighorn sheep, moose, deer and other native animals.
Eagle eyes may spot a baby moose calf named Willow who was born at Northwest Trek this past summer. Willow is the first moose born at the wildlife park in 15 years and she'll likely be seen at the side of her mother, Connie.
In addition to the tram ride, visitors to Northwest Trek can walk forested trails to see a grizzly bear, two black bears, wolves, foxes, a cougar, Canada lynx, river otters, a beaver, fishers, owls and other Northwest native critters.
Food donations collected will be donated to the Emergency Food Network, a nonprofit organization that serves local food banks, soup kitchens and shelters. Items particularly needed include canned tuna, chicken and salmon; canned fruits and vegetables; peanut butter; pasta; low-sugar granola bars and cereal; and baby food.
Northwest Trek is open Fridays through Sundays during November, plus Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 11–12 for its annual Veterans' Appreciation Days, during which, all active and retired military personnel are offered free admission. The Help Out for Half Off discount will also be available on these days for all other visitors.
If you go...
Cost and hours: Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is open 9:30 a.m.–3 p.m. on the following dates in November 2015: Nov. 6–8, 11–15, 20–22 and 27–29. Admission cost is $8.25–$19.75 per person, with ages 2 and under free. The "Help Out for Half Off" discount available during November gives half-off regular admission to visitors who bring at least two non-perishable food items per person. Note: Cash donations cannot be substituted for the food donations to receive the half-off discount.
Location: Northwest Trek is located at 11610 Trek Drive E., Eatonville, WA 98328. Directions here. It's about a 50-minute drive from Tacoma, an hour from Olympia, and an hour and a half from Seattle or Bellevue. There is plentiful, free parking.
Tips: Even though the tram ride is heated, dress warmly for a fall outing to Northwest Trek. Visitors will spend significant time outdoors. Check out our Insider's Guide to Northwest Trek, which includes lots of helpful ideas, though note that not all activities described are available during the fall season. Check the website or contact Northwest Trek with questions about specific activities.