August 20, 2006 6:56 PM
Final trip to the Zoo
I shouldn’t say final. I’m sure we’ll be back. But the zoo is one of Sasha’s favorite things in Seattle, so we had to go before she left.
Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo has an incredible atmosphere because of its small size. The best time to go is in the middle of winter on a day that is perpetually threatening to rain, but isn’t quite (and in Seattle that could be practically any day in winter). The place is usually pretty deserted on days like that and the animals have become so used to being left alone that they will come right up to the windows and fences and interact with you. I’m serious: one of the first times Sasha and I went, a lion tried to hunt me and the mountain goats followed me with their heads wherever I went.
They also do a really good job of making realistic habitats that encourage the animals to spend time near where people will be able to see them, whether by placing heat lamps near the windows in the winter or interesting toys to interact with in a visible spot. This time they had a new Cloud Leopard that they had enticed to come out with a pool of water that must have had fish or something in it. The leopard didn’t want to get wet at all, so it paced around and around the tub occasionally dipping its paw in and then getting very upset and shaking the water off.
Another thing that they do particularly well are special exhibits. Rather than being simply drier and more abstract, they make use of them to show off animals in ways that you couldn’t do otherwise. In particular they have an excellent “night” exhibit where you can go in and let your eyes adjust to the dark to see nocturnal animals being active. By the way, armadillos are crazy! That’s the main thing that exhibit has taught me. Another fun exhibit is “Willawong Station” where you can feed birds using sticks with seeds glued to them. They fly all around you and if you are careful you can coax them into landing on your hands.
And, of course, they have tapirs, Sasha’s favorite animals. I’ll let Sasha talk more about them elsewhere because she certainly is the source of all tapir knowledge!
After leaving the zoo we came back to Eastlake and had dinner at Pazzo’s which we hadn’t done for a while and drank Pazzo’s Margaritas which are quite the experience. They are also a great way to replenish salt after a long day of walking around.