WildLanterns at the Woodland Park Zoo delights all ages

A pair of swans at the entrance to WildLanterns at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle

Photos by Cheryl Landes

The Woodland Park Zoo’s new WildLanterns exhibit has been a hit this year. When I bought a ticket shortly after the event opened on November 13, they were selling fast. I checked again tonight, and they’re now sold out.

The exhibit features more than 50 lanterns of animals, insects, and plants from around the world.

A giraffe arch at the entrance to WildLanterns at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle

I start my walk in the Living Northwest exhibit, which features creatures from the Northwest. Three grizzly cubs frolic on and near their mother.

A grizzly cub climbs on Mama’s head at WildLanterns.

A wolf howls, an eagle spreads it wings, seals hang out on rocks, and an orca breaches a short distance from some polar bears on the ice.

A polar bear at WildLanterns

From there, I work my way back toward the entrance and continued following the rest of the mile-long paved trail. I pass a peacock that fanned out his tail feathers that changed colors on the way to the Jungle Corridor.

The peacock at WildLanterns

In the Jungle Corridor, giant leaves flank the path with ladybugs, flowers, gorillas, Venus flytraps, and other creatures.

A Venus flytrap peeks through the foliage at WildLanters.

In the Seamazium, penguins and dolphins frolick, a crab moves its claws back and forth, and a giant octopus changes colors. A gray whale rides the waves near the dolphins.

The octopus at WildLanterns

A corridor of tall pink feathers connect the Seamazium with the African Savanna. When I enter the savanna, I see a pair of antelopes charging each other and butting heads. Then I hear a noise high in the trees. It sounded like an owl. A few seconds later, I see the silhouette of a bird fly from one tree to another. It’s definitely a wild owl. The owl perches on a branch for a minute, then flies away.

The pink feather corridor at WildLanterns

The African Savanna exhibit includes zebras, giraffes, hippos, warthogs, monkeys, lions, and more. The leader of the lion pride stands proudly on a rocky ledge, watching over his kingdom.

A lion watching over his kingdom at WildLanterns

My last stop is the Jungle Lights exhibit, with tigers, pandas, frogs, butterflies, dragonflies, and giant flowers.

A dragonfly lands on a leaf at WildLanterns

The hours for this year’s WildLanterns are 4-8:30 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday through Sunday, January 17. Timed tickets, sold online only, are $28.95 for adults, $23.95 for children ages 3-12, and free for children 2 and younger. Members receive a 20% discount.

Refreshments are available.

Masks are required. Ticketholders arriving more than five minutes early should wait in their cars.

Woodland Park Zoo’s address is 5500 Phinney Avenue North in Seattle. Get more information at zoo.org or call (206) 548-2500.

An elephant at WildLanterns

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