News Blog for Seattle's Wallingford Neighborhood


How a Walk at the Zoo can help People With Early Stage Memory Loss

July 31st, 2014 by master

Aug. 4, The Woodland Park Zoo and the Alzheimer’s Association have a great program aimed to help seniors suffering from Memory Loss.

For some, aging comes with a high price to pay; the loss of memory. It’s sometimes a slow transition and can be hard on not only the person loosing their memory, but also their close friends and family members.

Recently, I was in California helping to care for my own aging parent suffering from an illness and cognitive disfunction. It made me realize how important it is to reach out to the seniors in my life and make sure they are getting the proper care and support.Here are a few local programs that are available for just that reason:


Starting on August 4th, for 10 consecutive weeks, the Woodland Park Zoo with sponsorship from the Alzheimer’s Association, the Greenwood Senior Center and Seattle Parks and Rec. is offering a program for seniors. The program takes place 9:30 – 11:00 am on Mondays and provides a chance for physical activity, cognitive stimulation, and social connection. The program is open to a set number of participants living with Early Stage Memory Loss and care partners. Registration is required.


Invigorate body, brain, and spirit with 3-4 mile brisk walks in various parks and neighborhoods throughout Seattle. Varied terrain includes sidewalks and gravel paths, mostly level but expect some gentle to moderate hills. Each walk concludes with a social gathering in a nearby cafe. To determine if this is the right group for you or someone you care for, and to be added to the email list for current location information, contact Mari Becker,, (206) 684-4664. 2nd & 4th Fridays at 10:00 am. No charge.


From Delicious Meals and fitness classes to Senior Education Programs and Community Events, the WCSC has a ton of great opportunities for seniors.

4649 Sunnyside Ave N Suite 140 Seattle WA 98103 206-461-7825

In Addition

There are many resources on line to help support caregivers and seniors. It’s important to check in with your loved ones as they age and make sure they are getting the care that they need, i.e., getting exercise, eating healthy and understand their rights. Here are list of helpful links:

Senior Rights Assistance

Five wishes: Aging with Dignity

Senior Services

Seattle Senior Centers

If you know someone in need of help will dementia or Alzheimer’s, contact the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline: 1-800-272-3900

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Wallingford invited to Zoo 'Neighborhood Appreciation Event'

July 26th, 2011 by master

Woodland Park Zoo is inviting residents of Fremont, Wallingford, Green Lake, Phinney Ridge, Greenwood and Ballard to its Neighborhood Appreciation Event from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 4.

This will be an opportunity for you to meet fellow zoo neighbors, enjoy light refreshments and have special experiences in some of our special exhibits. Children are welcome to attend.

The event will start at the zoo’s West Entrance, located at North 55th Street and Phinney Avenue North. Parking will be free in the surrounding zoo lots for this gathering. Casual attire is encouraged.

Please RSVP by e-mailing For more information, contact Roxanne Murphy, Community Relations and Outreach Liaison at (206) 548-2462.

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Zoo plan 2011: higher fees, more events

December 7th, 2010 by master

This story is from our sister site PhinneyWood:

Woodland Park Zoo has released its Draft Annual Plan for 2011, and is accepting comments on it through Jan. 2, 2011. The annual plan provides an overview of program and fee changes, and capital improvements.

After two years of cutting staff and employee benefits and closing the Night Exhibit to save money, the Plan calls for no new cuts, but will add several new revenue sources, including three tasting events, a new autumn festival, and a special one-season exhibit of about 10 animatronic dinosaurs with a separate $3 admission charge.

The zoo will complete some work on the new West Entrance, and will continue planning and fundraising for a replacement exhibit for Asian bears and tigers.

Admission prices will rise by 50 cents for adults and children on Jan. 1, and another 50 cents for adults on May 1. And beginning next summer, visitors can pay an extra fee for the opportunity to feed the elephants.

You can email comments on the Draft Annual Plan to or mail written comments to: Woodland Park Zoo, 601 N. 59th St., Seattle, WA 98103, Attention: Annual Plan Comments.

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Police search for trespassers at zoo

November 13th, 2010 by master

Update: Police gave up on the search after officers believe the suspects escaped across Aurora Ave. The suspects were wanted in a car prowl on Phinney Ridge. By the way, Fremont Universe reported on Friday about several recent car prowls in the Woodland Park area, so keep that in mind when parking near the area.

Earlier: A large number of police officers have responded to Woodland Park Zoo for a report of some folks who have broken into the facility. Zoo security reported seeing flashlights near the gorilla cages. Officers have a K9 unit, and for a while, a helicopter involved in the search, as well. Our sister site has details here.

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Zoo news: flamingos die, no Pumpkin Prowl, more

October 22nd, 2010 by master

There’s been quite a lot of news at the Woodland Park Zoo in recent days. Here are some stories from our sister site PhinneyWood:

Adult flamingo and two chicks die at zoo

The Woodland Park Zoo reports that one of its adult flamingos and two newborn flamingo chicks have died. The chicks hatched on Oct. 3 and 9.

From the zoo’s press release:

The older of the chicks was found dead this morning in the exhibit, and the younger of the chicks was discovered missing Sunday night.

Both parents of flamingos are involved in rearing their young, and this year’s chicks were being raised under the care of their parents, not by the zoo staff. The younger chick was left in a vulnerable position under the sole care of its mother following the unexpected death of her mate last Friday. A necropsy revealed that this adult bird died of a fractured vertebra and internal health issues. The cause of the injury has not been determined.

The older chick was thriving under the care of its attentive parents and was showing increased signs of mobility and natural flamingo behavior. It is not known what led to its death.

One of the flamingo chicks eating last week. Photo by Dennis Dow, Woodland Park Zoo.

Three flamingo eggs remain in nests at the exhibit, and are expected to hatch soon.

Zoo’s Pumpkin Bash bigger and better in wake of Pumpkin Prowl cancellation

The Woodland Park Zoo’s annual Pumpkin Bash is set for Oct. 30-31, with special treats for the animals, live entertainment and daytime trick-or-treating. But the annual three-day, nighttime Pumpkin Prowl has been canceled because it didn’t raise enough money to cover costs.

According to the zoo, some of the Pumpkin Prowl activities, such as the trick-or-treating, are being rolled into the Pumpkin Bash.

Pumpkin Bash features: a repertoire of animal behavior as hippos, bears, elephants, birds, and other animals crunch, smash or stomp on the orange gourds; trick or treating in the zoo’s West Plaza; “Thriller” dance performances by Roosevelt High School (Sunday only); demonstrations by Alpha Martial Arts (Saturday only); imaginative and fun presentations by Killer Science; face painting (additional fee); up-close animal encounters; meet ‘n’ greets with the zoo’s penguin and meerkat mascots; programs in Zoomazium’s indoor nature play space; and discovery stations to explore animal life.

Photo by Lori Veres, Woodland Park Zoo.

Pumpkin Bash is from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30, and Sunday, Oct. 31. Click here for a full schedule of when each animal gets their Halloween treats. Pumpkin Bash is included in zoo admission. Special discount for this event: one child 12 and under in costume is admitted free with a paid adult. Bring your own trick-or-treat bags. The zoo’s current winter hours are 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily.

Help design sensory garden at the zoo

The Sensory Garden Advisory Committee is holding a meeting on Saturday to start developing a sensory garden next to the Woodland Park Zoo. A sensory garden is a broad term for an area that can be therapeutic for the deaf, blind or those with autism. For example, it may have flowers with strong scents, highly textured plants, a rain garden or a reflexology path.

The meeting is from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Norse Home, 5311 Phinney Ave. N. Read the full story.

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The spiders of October

October 4th, 2010 by master

If you’ve gotten a faceful of spider web when you head out of the house in the morning lately, you may be wondering “Where did all these spiders come from?!”

Our sister site Maple Leaf Life investigated the arachnid explosion.

Marcus R. Donner/

By Mike Ullman

About that invasion of spiders we’re all seeing – “well, there’s not one.”

An invasion, that is, according to Sue Anderson at the Woodland Park Zoo.

“Every fall we get calls at this time of year about the spider invasion,” mainly from people who are seeing huge orb-weaving spiders hanging everywhere in their gardens.

Anderson, who is an invertebrate keeper at the zoo – “I’m the bug and spider keeper” – says that in truth the spiders have been here all summer. “What becomes visible this time of year is the older female spiders who are so full of eggs they are huge.”

Soon the spiders will drop off and lay their eggs in leaf litter. Then most will die, Anderson said. Next year the eggs  hatch and the process starts again, with tiny spiders weaving tiny webs through the summer.

Then the adult spiders will again become visible. “When they get bigger, they need more space,” she said. “They’re really very beautiful spiders if you can make yourself stop and look at them.” You can see Anderson being interviewed about spiders by KOMO 4 News here.

While we’re on the subject of spiders, Anderson says house spiders – those big black ones – will probably die of the cold if well-intentioned humans carefully pick them up and put them outside. “They are funnel spiders, European spiders who hitched a ride here in the 1900s. They live in caves, houses, old buildings.” If you feel you must put a house spider outside your house, try a garage.

Don’t pick it up with your bare hands, either – while most spiders aren’t dangerous, some people are allergic, Anderson said.

Want to know more about spiders? Rod Crawford, curator of arachnids at Seattle’s Burke Museum, is an acknowledged expert.

He has an entire section of the museum’s website titled The Spider Myths Site, based on his 39 years of working with spiders and answering questions about them.

People’s concerns come from a widespread and surprisingly uniform set of assumptions and “general knowledge” about spiders. And almost all of this widespread information about spiders is false!

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Sunday: 5-year-old throws zoo fundraiser

September 28th, 2010 by master

There’s hardly a child who doesn’t love seeing the animals at the zoo, but 5-year-old animal lover Lucas Engles-Klann has taken his animal adoration a lot further. This Sunday, October 3, little Lucas (with the help of his moms) will host his third dinner benefit for Woodland Park Zoo, at Elemental and Elemental Next Door (3309 Wallingford Ave. N.) this Sunday from 2 to 7 p.m.

The zoo blog posted a letter from Lucas that says the fundraiser garnered $5000 last year for gorilla animal care and habitats.

This year, Dine Out will benefit even more animals: the zoo’s gorillas plus also the turtles in the Day Exhibit, the Northern Trail grizzly bears, and the wildlife impacted by the oil spill in the Gulf.

If you come to Dine Out, you will feel really, really good about helping to save animals. You will have a great time, great food, a fun community to hang out with and new friends to make. I helped pick the menu—it’s all vegetarian, of course, and really, really good, including a “make-your-own” scrumptious pizza. Many cool auction items are being donated by the zoo, local painters and jewelry artists, a Wild Ginger gift card and much more.

You can read about last year’s fundraiser in this article from our news partner The Seattle Times.

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Vote for meerkats' names, win prizes

June 2nd, 2010 by master

Woodland Park Zoo is holding a contest to name the eight members of its new meerkat mob.

Photo by Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo.

The zoo has selected 16 names that reflect the meerkats’ native southern African habitat. Voting is open from through June 15. The eight highest vote getters will become the new names for the four male and four female meerkats.

  • Kalahari (African desert)
  • Kgala (“great thirst” in Tswana)
  • Acacia (African tree)
  • Kiwano (Kalahari fruit)
  • Nossob (southern African river)
  • Baobob (African plains tree)
  • Aranos (Namibian town)
  • Molopo (southern African river)
  • Gochas (Namibian settlement)
  • Ghanzi (town in Botswana)
  • Zimba (Zambian town)
  • Erongo (Namibian mountain)
  • Dinawa (“beans” in Tswana)
  • Nata (southern African river)
  • Kuruman (southern African river)
  • Ngami (lake in Botswana)

The poll is open to all ages, but if you’re under 18 you’ll need parental/guardian approval. Ballots are available at participating U.S. Bank locations across the Puget Sound region, in June 1-15 issues of The Seattle Times, on zoo grounds during business hours, and for download on the zoo’s website.

For complete rules, a list of participating U.S. Bank locations or to download a ballot, visit

Voters will be entered to win a grand prize or one of two runner-up prizes: 1.) Grand prize (one winner): A 3-day, 2-night trip for four (4) to San Diego including airfare, hotel accommodations at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, and tickets to local attractions including San Diego Zoo and Sea World; 2.) Runners up (two winners): $75 Woodland Park Zoo gift card and ZooParent meerkat adoption. The three winners will be drawn at random from all eligible entries.

The eight most voted meerkat names and the three prize winners will be announced on July 1 at Red, White & Zoo when meerkats will enjoy a special watermelon treat as part of our annual Independence Day-themed enrichment event.

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New zoo entrance opens, meerkats make debut

May 3rd, 2010 by master

Our sister site PhinneyWood covered the opening of the Woodland Park Zoo’s new west entrance and its new meerkats exhibit this weekend. Here’s their report:

The new entrance on Phinney Avenue between North 55th and 56th streets features a wide walkway winding its way down to a large central courtyard framed by a long ticketing area. The upbeat Latin sounds of CocoLoco brightened the atmosphere on an otherwise gray, but dry, day.

“It’s so open,” said zoo spokesperson Gigi Allianic of the new entrance. “It’s a nice welcoming space.”

Whether it was the more inviting environs, or an improved setup, ticketing seemed to be much faster than at the old west entrance where long lines were common. Allianic said the true test will be on a warm, sunny, summer day, when crowds are at their peak.

Many zoo visitors who made a beeline for the heavily advertised meerkat exhibit were not disappointed by the playful, scampering animals.

Want to see those meerkats in action? The zoo posted this video of their new stars before the exhibit opened:

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Zoo's Nocturnal Exhibit may not be closed forever

April 12th, 2010 by master

This story is part of an innovative partnership announced today between the Common Language Project, University of Washington and Next Door Media.  Read about the partnership here.

As zoo officials announced the closure of the popular Nocturnal Exhibit, thousands of people turned to Facebook to organize an effort to save it.

Photo courtesy Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo.

Thanks to Internet activism, the exhibit may not be closed forever, but a critical fundraising deadline looms. Click here to read “Lights out, Computer on.”

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