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ZooTunes Concerts Are Back for 2021 at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo

Family-friendly outdoor summer concerts return — everything you need to know

Nancy Chaney

Published on: May 18, 2021

Concert goers enjoy a ZooTunes outdoor concert at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo in a previous year
The audience at a ZooTunes concert in a prior year; read below for 2021 changes, including separated seating. Credit: Rick Gordon/Flickr CC

Woodland Park Zoo's popular ZooTunes concerts are back for summer 2021. It's another development signaling the return to close to normal around Seattle — and this development is super-great for families with kids.

The beauty of ZooTunes concerts for families is multi-faceted: The concerts welcome kids of all ages, they're outdoors — so wiggly kids can move around — and they begin at bedtime-friendly times. (Okay, let's face it, also tired-parent-friendly times.)

Summer 2021 ZooTunes tickets go on sale Friday, May 21.

Bigger changes to ZooTunes affecting families

As with all things returning on the downslope of the pandemic, there will be changes. Two major ones affect the family-friendliness of ZooTunes concerts.

In the past, each purchased adult ticket also admitted one kid age 12 and younger. This is no longer the case. Everyone ages 3 and older requires a purchased ticket. Tots ages 2 and younger enter free with a paying adult. Obviously, this change makes a ZooTunes concert outing considerably less affordable for families.

The second major change affecting families is that outside food and drink are no longer allowed. Families can purchase food and beverages onsite, including adult bevvies for those ages 21 and older. Sealed water bottles are okay to bring. But you won't be able to bring your from-home picnic dinner.

Additional ZooTunes changes

Local artists: This is pretty cool. Rather than national acts, this ZooTunes series will feature performers from our region, curated by local public radio station KEXP. Shows scheduled so far include The Posies (Sunday, July 18), Naked Giants (Sunday, Aug. 8) and Polyrhythmics (Wednesday, Aug. 25). Check back for more performers and show dates to be announced.

Pod seating: You will still get to spread out a blanket or set up low-back chairs on the meadow to enjoy the show, but families will need to buy tickets for a specific two-, four-, six- or 10-person pods. You'll get your own spot of grass and you need to stay inside it. (Note: You must enter the zoo with your pod, so you'll need to gather outside and go in as a group.)

Pod seating on Woodland Park Zoo's north meadow for ZooTunes concerts returning summer 2021 Seattle kids and families
Pod seating on the zoo's North Meadow for summer 2021 ZooTunes concerts. Image courtesy Woodland Park Zoo

Staying inside your pod: Pod groups are expected to stay inside their pod space, except when picking up any food or beverage they've ordered (order via app) or visiting the restroom. Low-back chairs up to 26 inches in height are allowed.

Masks required: Everyone ages 5 and older must wear a mask at all times while on zoo grounds, except when actively eating or drinking — which may only be done inside your pod space. So no sipping your beer as you walk back from the concession stand. Masks for ages 3–4 are strongly recommended.

Buy advance tickets: It was rare in past years that a ZooTunes concert did not sell out in advance, but tickets will no longer be sold at the gate in the event tickets remain. For 2021, you must book tickets in advance, for a specific pod. (Pro tip: Zoo members get the best pod selection; members' pre-sale begins Wednesday, May 19.)

Clear bag policy: Only clear bags 16 x 16 x 5 inches (or smaller) are allowed inside the zoo for ZooTunes concerts, and the bags must not contain prohibited items.

For additional information on policies and parking, and FAQs, read detailed info on the ZooTunes website. ZooTunes tickets do not include entry to visit the zoo's animal exhibits or to the temporary summer exhibit called Dinosaur Discovery. Plan a day-time trip for those.

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