Tag Archives: tigers

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.

New Red Wolf Exhibit at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Penguins at the Pt. Defiance Zoo in Tacoma.

The red wolf, courtesy Pt. Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

I love Tacoma’s Point Defiance Zoo for a variety of reasons. The first is that they give anyone who lives in Tacoma a discount on admission. I think they recognize that those of us who already live here could potentially be their best customers. Other reasons to favor this zoo include its cleanliness, kid-friendliness, a friendly and knowledgeable staff that is always available to answer questions for you, easy-to-find exhibits and a very cool stage for their shows.

The big news this past week-end, Labor Day, 2010 was the opening of the new red wolf exhibit.

Called Red Wolf Woods, the exhibit houses five red wolves – a breeding pair, Graham and Ocean Blue; and three 3-year-old sisters, Nami, Tala and Mika. These red wolves aren’t new to Point Defiance, but during construction of their new $1.1 million habitat, they stayed at Northwest Trek in Eatonville.

Red Wolf Woods includes hardwood trees, low grasses and shrubs, and a stream – all designed to mimic the red wolves’ native surroundings, yet give zoo guests an unobstructed view of these beautiful animals which have been brought back from the brink of extinction. In the 1970s there were only 14 of them. Today they number about 300, many of which have been reintroduced into the wild. Point Defiance Zoo played an integral role in the wolves’ 40-year  recovery program.

Did you know that a red wolf can smell a scent from two miles away?

The zoo holds lots of other treats for visitors, too.

Although we visited sans children, we took a peak at the Kid Zone and whatever kids like to do was represented. Climbing on a rope hammock, playing in sand with a cement turtle, watching meerkats and lemurs, feeding live goats to feed and learning how to care for critters were just a few of the enticements for children.

The walruses in the Rocky Shores area seemed to be putting on their own show for zoo guests by making animated noises, then swimming upside down and coming back and doing it all over again.

Pt. Defiance also has an aquarium, a very unusual phenomena at a zoo. It’s great fun to watch all the different marine life in a huge tank with shipwrecked boats.

Penguins, tigers, elephants, polar bears, pythons, leopards and more. Ride a camel, take a spin on the Paul Titus Antique Carousel, browse the wonderful gift shop or enjoy a twirl of flavors like cotton candy, bubble gum and cool mint in your ice cream cone. There’s something for everyone at the Pt. Defiance Zoo and Aquarium.

For more information, visit www.pdza.org.