Woodland Park Zoo has won awards for several exhibits, including the primate area with gorillas and orangutans and the African Savanna with giraffes (Lulu, born in 2017, is already a zoo favorite) and zebras. An underwater viewing area gives you a close-up view of frolicking Humbolt penguins from Peru, and there’s a popular habitat area for viewing fun-loving meerkats. Other exhibits focus on Alaska, with a popular brown-bear habitat, and the tropical rainforest. At the Zoomazium, an indoor play area, kids 8 and under can explore nature, listen to stories, and generally burn off energy. The newest exhibits are Molbak’s Butterfly Garden, where you can stroll through a lovely garden with 500 butterflies from 15 different North American species flying free around you; and the Microsoft Pollinator Patio, an instructional garden that focuses on ways to create a garden using native plants that attract birds and insects. The zoo also has a beautiful 1918 carousel.
The 2 1/2-acre Woodland Park Rose Garden adjacent to the zoo showcases the genus Rosa in all its myriad forms—floribunda, grandiflora, hybrid tea, hybrid musk, miniature, polyantha, rugosa, David Austen, climber, shrub, tree—they’re all here. A circular fountain bubbles at the center and a semi-circular bas-relief wall fountain burbles at the north end. A rectangular lily pond sits between the two fountains, with a gazebo anchoring the east end and a pergola at the south end. This elegant and enjoyable rose garden is unique in that it is 100% organic and pesticide-free. Late May through June is the best time to see and smell the roses, but some remain in bloom throughout the summer.