Woodland Park Zoo 


Woodland Park Zoo is a cherished community resource and a unique urban oasis. In a rapidly urbanizing society, our zoo serves an increasingly critical role as an ambassador for wildlife and wild spaces. Through hands-on, interactive experiences, powerful up-close encounters with animals, conservation and science education programs, we seek to awaken in our visitors a sense of their own place in the natural world and inspire them to take conservation action.  

Mission Statement
Woodland Park Zoo saves animals and their habitats through conservation leadership and engaging experiences, inspiring people to learn, care and act.
Donate Now
Woodland Park Zoo
5500 Phinney Ave. N. 
(206) 548-2500 

Dr. Deborah B. Jensen 
President & CEO 


Woodland Park Zoo Programs

From our Zoomazium facility for early learners to our Advanced Inquiry masters degree program for educators, Woodland Park Zoo pursues a developmental approach to lifelong learning. We seek to foster empathy for nature, build conservation knowledge and skills, and increase personal ownership for actions that benefit wildlife and habitats. More than 538,000 visitors participate in public programs and nearly 70,000 students and teachers visit the zoo each year. We also provide more than 52,000 complimentary tickets to  400 King County social service organizations. 

Woodland Park Zoo is a regional institution with international impact. Our zoo supports 35 conservation projects in the Pacific Northwest and around the world, reflecting the major exhibit biomes at the zoo. These in-situ projects help local communities institute conservation solutions combining habitat and species protection, research, education, and community livelihood through conservation commerce. The zoo collaborates with other accredited zoos and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to raise endangered native animals for release into the wild. 

Animal Care 
Woodland Park Zoo manages the largest live animal collection in Washington state with approximately 1,000 specimens representing nearly 300 species. Through Species Survival Plans, our zoo collaborates with other accredited zoos to preserve genetically-diverse populations of some of the world's most endangered animals.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

Woodland Park Zoo is a leader in education, animal care and exhibit design. An international leader in immersive exhibit design, Seattle's zoo has been honored by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) with seven major exhibit awards, making it the second most medaled zoo in the nation after the Bronx Zoo which boasts eight.

Woodland Park Zoo believes that providing up-close, hands-on experiences with animals is the best way to ensure the future of wildlife and wild places. In an effort to encourage children’s connection with – and empathy towards – animals , the zoo is establishing the Presentation Animals Initiative. Under the umbrella of this initiative, Woodland Park Zoo will develop and implement new and expanded presentation animal programs on and off grounds, construct a new presentation space, and expand housing for program animals. In addition, the zoo will develop and share reliable tools for designing empathy-based programming at AZA institutions.

The Presentation Animals Initiative will enhance Woodland Park Zoo's visitor centered programming significantly, changing attitudes and encouraging positive environmental behaviors for thousands of children and their families in our community


The Woodland Park Zoo is a community resource and serves as an ambassador for wildlife and wild spaces. Woodland Park Zoo increases visitors’ awareness of the natural world and inspires them to take conservative action through hands-on, interactive experiences, up-close encounters with animals, and conservation and science education programs.

Proven Success
Woodland Park Zoo’s school programs support academic requirements in the sciences, offer field-based learning opportunities, and foster inquiry to ensure that all students have sufficient knowledge and skills in science. School programs reach more than 74,000 students, teachers and chaperones each year, 33% of whom come from King County schools with 30% or more students on free or reduced-rate lunch. In addition, we reach 13,000 students in King County and statewide through community outreach such as our award-winning Wild Wise and Ready, Set, Discover programs.

Accessibility and Cultural Competency
Through their Community Access Program the Zoo has offered over 86,000 complimentary tickets to more than 300 King County social service organizations each year. These organizations include homeless shelters, food banks, senior centers, low-income youth centers and more. The Zoo also maintains long-standing partnerships with local schools and school districts, helping to bring students to the zoo. Low-income schools receive free admission and bus transportation.

Best Practices
Woodland Park Zoo seeks to systematically reduce our organization’s ecological footprint. The bio-filtration at the Humboldt penguin exhibit is saving approximately 3,000,000 gallons of water annually. This effort helped Woodland Park Zoo win an Association of Zoos and Aquariums Green Award in 2011. They plan to make upgrades to their Adaptations building and install a filtration system at the Hippo pool. This project will reduce our carbon emissions by 223,786 pounds of CO2 each year and save six million gallons of water annually – a 90% reduction in water use at the exhibit and a 15% reduction in the zoo's total water use.

WPZ has made contributions to the zoo/aquarium field through collaborative projects to develop evaluation instruments that can be used across institutions. Examples include a multi-institution study to assess the impact of zoo/aquarium teen programs, and a national survey of zoo/aquarium visitors’ understanding of climate change and its impacts on wildlife and habitats.

Through a partnership with Miami University’s Project Dragonfly, Woodland Park Zoo is providing professional development opportunities for educators. Co-delivered by faculty at Miami University and WPZ education staff, the Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) combines graduate courses at the zoo with web-based learning communities that connect participants to a broad network of educators and community leaders. The AIP is a first-of-its-kind graduate degree co-delivered by major community institutions committed to local, national, and global change.

WPZ currently partners with 36 field conservation projects in more than 50 countries. These include some of the smallest life forms – the endangered Oregon silverspot butterfly – to the largest mammals on land – the African elephant. Partner organizations include the Northwest Zoo and Aquarium Alliance, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and many others. Their signature conservation partner, the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, Woodland Park Zoo has helped indigenous communities in Papua New Guinea to permanently protect 187,000 acres of cloud forest habitat from resource extraction.

Financial Health
Woodland Park Zoo has diverse revenue streams including earned revenue, philanthropic support, and government funding. Over the past 12 months they have continued to carefully manage their budget, delaying some new initiatives and reducing expenses. Revenues and expenses are expected to be relatively flat from 2011 to 2012, factoring out a large in-kind donation in 2011.

Earned income accounts for about 50% of the zoo’s annual revenue. These funds come from a variety of sources including admissions, zoo store sales, and ticketed events such as the ZooTunes concerts. Philanthropic support accounts for about 18% of the zoo’s revenue. Government funding represents about 32% of the zoo’s annual revenue. Sources include general fund support from the City of Seattle, and funds from a King County levy. They are working towards renewing King County Levy support in 2013.

Woodland Park Zoo is currently in the public phase of their More Wonder More Wild campaign - a $70 million campaign (capital and program support) and a $10 million endowment fund. They have raised $73.19 million towards their $80 million goal, which is 91% of the campaign goal and 94% of the time elapsed. They anticipate the campaign will extend at least one additional year in order to allow time to complete the fundraising for The Asian Tropical Forest initiative, the final, major initiative in our More Wonder More Wild campaign. The Asian Tropical Forest will continue to be our primary focus in the coming 12 months. This project will create a two acre exhibit and new home for the Asian bears, and tigers.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

3/10/2013 $5,000.00support general operating expenses.
3/10/2012 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
9/10/2010 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
3/10/2008 $40,000.00support general operating expenses.


Similar Organizations

Give broadly to the Environment
If you care about restoring the environmental health of Puget Sound, ensuring sustainability in our region, and broadening the environmental movement, then make a difference by giving to the Grantmaking Program.
Questions or comments about this organization?
Contact us to learn more.