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Woodland Park Zoo

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What’s Happening at Woodland Park Zoo
What makes Woodland Park Zoo famous? It is famed for revolutionizing the world of zoos by immersing visitors in naturalistic exhibits. The top award-winning zoo set an international standard for animal care and realistic landscape exhibits that allow animals to thrive and be seen in naturalistic environments. In 1979, Woodland Park opened the first naturalistic gorilla exhibit in the world, establishing a prototype.

Tracing Woodland Park Zoo’s 104-year evolution yields a treasure-trove of stories about advances in wildlife conservation, exhibit design, education, veterinary science and plant care. Please consider us a resource for any features you may do that involve these topics or others, such as worldwide conservation efforts, family classes, botanical gardens and more. Here’s a taste of what’s happening and angles of interest:

Hot and Cold Spots at Woodland Park Zoo

Discover the “hot” and “cold” spots at Woodland Park Zoo. Fall and winter offer visitors of all ages and backgrounds an expanded repertoire of animal behaviors. Ask for a rainy day tour map at the gates . And, don’t forget to seek dry, warm shelter and sustenance in the Rain Forest Food Pavilion and take a global shopping expedition in the ZooStore:

Discover animals and plants that have adapted to the cold in the award-winning Northern Trail — indoor, underwater views of grizzly bears swimming or wrestling and river otters gliding. Mountain goats, snowy owls, wolves, elk and bald eagles are also along the trail.
  • Escape winter’s chill and trek through the different layers of a rain forest in the warm, humid environment of the award-winning Tropical Rain Forest. The interior portion displays ocelots, pygmy marmosets (the world’s smallest monkeys) and tropical birds. The outdoor loop showcases the new Jaguar Cove, lemurs and monkeys, and covered shelters feature two gorilla groups.
  • Enter the world of earth’s smallest animals — arthropods — at the indoor “Bug” World. More than 22 species are showcased such as Australian walkingsticks, dung beetles, flamboyant flower beetles, Madagascar hissing cockroaches and African giant millipedes.
  • Experience a slice of desert life in the heated Day Exhibit featuring a gallery of smaller-scale exhibits with amphibians and reptiles. Kids especially delight in the gigantic Brazilian cockroach exhibit swarming with thousands of “nature’s recyclers” and the 18-foot reticulated python. A walk through Night Exhibit treats visitors to two-toed sloths, a variety of prosimians, tamanduas (lesser anteaters), fruit bats, vampire bats and a new colony of Rodrigues fruit bats.
  • Take shelter in the Adaptations Building with covered viewing of felines, other small mammals and rare Komodo dragons. Cat lovers will especially enjoy two Sumatran tigers born December 2002.
  • African Village…Celebrate African culture and the country’s wildlife through the eyes of the people who live there. A recreated schoolhouse offers sheltered viewing to a savanna dotted with giraffe, zebra, gazelle and patas monkey.
  • Explore the wild life of “down under” at Australasia where covered areas offer viewing of tree kangaroos, wallaroos, kookaburras and other animals native to this corner of the world.
  • Journey through the tropics of Asia and come upon the zoo’s herd of elephants, including an Asian elephant calf living amidst a Thai forest. Continue to the Trail of Vines where orangutans, siamang apes, monkeys, Malayan tapirs and Indian pythons can be viewed from covered shelters.
  • Zoo Babies

    Twin sloth bears were born at the zoo January 3, 2003. The cubs and mother remain off view in a heated maternity den where they are receiving excellent maternal care. Newborn cubs are extremely tiny and blind at birth. They open their eyes at about 3 weeks old and can walk at 4 weeks. Unlike other bear species, sloth bear mothers carry cubs on their back when cubs reach about 2 months old.
  • A pair of Sumatran tigers born December 2002 marked a significant birth for the rare tiger subspecies in zoos and in the wild. The female juveniles are on view daily with their mother in the tiger grotto.
  • A female gorilla was born August 30, 2002, the second offspring between 32-year-old Amanda and 23-year-old Vip. The infant also represents the zoo’s eleventh successful gorilla birth.
  • The “Wild” Side Meets Zoo Life — Environmental Enrichment
    Zookeepers introduce a variety of activities to encourage a full spectrum of species-specific wild behavior. Enrichment approximates the challenges and opportunities animals would face in a wild environment and reinforces natural behavior such as exploration and foraging. To make the lives of the zoo’s animals more enriching and entertaining, zookeepers introduce a variety of activities.

    Samples of enrichment activities:

  • Sun bears, sloth bears: whole fruit buried; hidden logs drilled with holes and stuffed with raisins or live mealworms; bamboo popsicles scattered; allspice and other spices sprinkled; honey and molasses drizzled on tree snags.
  • Felines: elephant poop for cats to roll in; catnip; herbs and spices such as fennel, cinnamon, nutmeg; frozen chicks and gizzards hidden in logs.
  • African wild dogs: fresh herbs and spices such as fennel, cinnamon, nutmeg; sticks buried in sand and smeared with spices or civet musk; hidden horse meatballs; meat smeared on logs.
  • Tropical Rain Forest birds: fruit kabobs (grapes and other fruit hung on trees); bamboo.
  • Goeldi’s monkeys: raisins, live mealworms and grapes hidden in branches.
  • Orangutans: artificial durian fruit stuffed with peanut butter; logs stuffed with raisins.
  • Gorillas: fruits and vegetables scattered every morning; hidden logs stuffed with raisins and other treats.
  • Grizzlies: frozen salmon carcasses and apples tossed in underwater viewing pool.
  • Wolves: knucklebones; frozen chicks.