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New Woodland Park Zoo Programs Aim to Expand Access

Discounted tickets and memberships — plus lots to see — entice more families to the zoo

Published on: August 23, 2018

Ring-tailed lemurs at Woodland Park Zoo credit Dennis Dow
Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo

Let's be real: A trip to Woodland Park Zoo is a fairly pricey outing for families, with summer admission for two adults and two kids approaching $70.

Visiting the zoo can be a once-every-few-years splurge for some families, and completely out of reach for others. But a new zoo program aims to help more families visit. (And there are great reasons to go now — more on that below!)

Building on the Zoo for All improvements launched earlier this summer, the zoo is now offering a special Explorer Pass annual family membership for $35. This membership includes unlimited family admission to the zoo from Sept. 4, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2019. 

Current holders of a Washington state Quest/EBT card or participants in the WIC Nutrition program are eligible to apply for the Explorer Pass.

Act quickly to get one of these family memberships: They're limited to the to the first 2,000 qualified applicant families and applications are due Thursday, Aug. 30. (Applications will be accepted after Aug. 30 if not all 2,000 memberships have been claimed by the deadline.)

The zoo's new $5 Discover Ticket program is another way for Quest/EBT card or WIC Nutrition program participants to visit the zoo. From Sep. 4, 2018, through Mar. 31, 2019, Washington residents can present a current Quest/EBT card or WIC appointment folder and photo ID at the gate. Up to six individuals in the same family are eligible for the $5 per person Discover Tickets. 

The zoo also provides free passes to library card holders through the Seattle Public Library Museum Pass program. Visitors who arrive by bike or transit can save $2 off gate admission.

In the coming year, these programs are expected to serve more than 300,000 people, doubling access to the zoo in previously underserved communities.

Great reasons to visit the zoo now

If you haven’t been to Woodland Park Zoo yet this summer — or even if you have — there are very good reasons to visit now. You already know about the new rhinos, Taj and Glenn, who have taken up residence in the old elephant habitat. But wait, there’s more.

Lulu is leaving... sniff

In early September, when we send our babies off to school, first-time giraffe parents Tufani and Dave will send 1-year-old Lulu off to her new life at Lincoln Children’s Zoo in Nebraska. There Lulu will join a herd of young giraffes in a new 10-acre habitat.

Lulu is already studying hard to prepare for the 1,600-mile ride to her new home in a special trailer with extra leg (and neck) room. Target training, touch desensitization and training for medical procedures are also part of her curriculum.

Lulu’s move is part of the Giraffe Species Survival Plan, a cooperative conservation breeding program for this threatened species. You can help by supporting the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and, of course, visiting Woodland Park Zoo, perhaps to say goodbye and good luck to Lulu.

Red panda cubs

Woodland Park Zoo's 2-month-old red panda twins won’t be on view until October, but you can be part of the cuteness now. One of the twins will be named by friends of the zoo, but from now through Aug. 27, you can help pick the name of the other one. Vote for the name Zeya, Daxa or Zhú online at The cubs’ names will be revealed on Wednesday, Aug. 29.

One voter will be randomly chosen to win a red panda ZooParent adoption package that includes a red panda plush toy, photo, fact sheet and personalized certificate of adoption.

Sensory Garden

The official celebration of the zoo’s new Sensory Garden hasn’t been scheduled yet, but the garden is open now. While it’s still warm out, visit this addition to the zoo’s Rose Garden (free to visit) with touch-and-explore elements, an accessible paved pathway, special sensory-friendly carpeting and raised beds filled with touchable plants.

If you go...

Where: Woodland Park Zoo is located at 5500 Phinney Ave. N. in Seattle

When: The zoo's regular summer hours are 9:30 a.m.–6 p.m. daily. Check back for fall and winter hours.

Cost: Summer admission fees are are $20.95/adult, $18.95/senior, $12.95/child ages 3–12, ages 2 and under free. Find out more about discount programs.

Daily events: Check the zoo's website for events happening each day.

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