Close Encounters at the Cougar Mountain Zoo

Last weekend we finally got around to visiting the Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah and it was a delight. The grounds are kept extremely clean and well landscaped. Viewing the animals doesn’t require binoculars and in some cases you’re allowed to feed them special food.

Why it is so entertaining to watch alpacas eat chunks of apples, I don’t know, but it sure is. I often wonder if the zoo animals feel the same way about us humans.


This zoo is one of the smaller ones, which makes the experience a bit more intimate plus a little easier on the budget. Zookeepers roaming the grounds are eager to talk with you and answer your questions.


To ensure a good quality of life for their animal residents, the Cougar Mountain Zoo exhibits just ten different kinds of animals – cougars, lemurs, cranes, reindeer, macaws, wallabies, flightless birds, alpacas and tigers. Throughout the day zookeepers offer information-rich presentations on these different animals at the Wildlife Theatre.

Of course, the Wild Treasures Gift Shop features toys, gifts and educational items. But this zoo also has a Fine Arts Gallery and a Wildlife Museum.

If you’d like to get closer to the animals, a number of “close encounters” are available for an additional charge. Tigers, cougars, mule deer and reindeer are all on this list. With the reindeer encounter you help the zookeeper prepare their food, clean the habitat and barn, and then feed them. Then you assist in exercising and training one of them.


If you’ve not had a chance to visit the Cougar Mountain Zoo, I suggest you put it on your to-do list.

3 thoughts on “Close Encounters at the Cougar Mountain Zoo

    1. Heather Larson Post author

      I didn’t know there weren’t any cougars. I thought they were just hiding the day we were there. Wow.


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