Skip to main content
Northwest Trek News
Jul 08, 2022

This Zookeeper Week, we shadowed Hannah and Armando, two zookeepers at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Hannah and Armando are raising 260 endangered Northern leopard frogs from egg to froglet stage, until they can be released back into the Washington wild to boost the native population. Due to habitat loss, disease, pollution, climate change and invasive predators like bullfrogs, Northern leopard frogs are close to extinct in Washington and Oregon. Now, there’s just one place in Washington where they’re found: the Potholes Reservoir in the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area. Later this summer, the frogs will leave Northwest Trek and be released …

Jul 08, 2022

This Zookeeper Week, we shadowed Becky, a zookeeper at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Becky works with all of the animals in the Cheney Discovery Center, Forest & Wetlands area, and all of the birds in the wildlife park, but is the primary trainer for raccoons McKenna and McChord, badgers Lavender and Poppy, bald eagles Cheveyo and Sequoia, and Tolmie the porcupine. We asked her about her experiences in zookeeping and what working with animals and wildlife means to her. Q: What is your favorite part of the job? A: I love working with species that are native to the Pacific …

Jun 15, 2022

It’s a cool, wet spring morning at Northwest Trek, and keeper Wendi is cleaning out the fisher habitat. She scoops some poop, then bends down intently. “Aha!” she exclaims, and reaches out a gloved hand. It’s a banana slug, long, mottled and yellow – and Wendi scoops it up in all its slimy glory. Slug Fest is coming, and Northwest Trek is getting ready. Slug Hunting “Fifty to sixty degrees and raining, that’s prime slug hunting time,” explains Wendi. One of the Wetlands keepers, she’s taking part in the staff’s Longest Slug Contest for the ever-popular annual Slug Fest event, …

Jun 09, 2022

Go beyond the typical Father’s Day gifts and give dad a memorable experience he can enjoy with the whole family this year. Take a Wild Drive and get up close to a moose, touch a jellyfish or go off-roading with a keeper to meet amazing animals! He won’t forget these memorable experiences at Northwest Trek and our sister zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium! 1. Go on a Wild Drive Uh-oh! There’s a traffic jam… a herd of bison are in the road! This Wild Drive is bound to be much more exciting than rush hour on I-5. Take your own personal …

Apr 29, 2022

Go beyond the typical Mother’s Day gifts and give mom a memorable experience she can enjoy with the whole family this year. Get up close to a moose, groom a goat or touch a jellyfish! She won’t soon forget these amazing  experiences at Northwest Trek and our sister zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium! 1. Go on a Wild Drive Uh-oh! There’s a traffic jam… a herd of bison are in the road! This Wild Drive is bound to be much more exciting than rush hour on I-5. Take your own personal vehicle on the paved roads through Northwest Trek’s peaceful 435-acre …

Apr 18, 2022

In honor of National Volunteer Week, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park employees thank the park’s irreplaceable volunteers for their time and energy all year-round. In 2021, volunteers at Northwest Trek logged a total of 2,295 hours. “I appreciate all of our volunteers for their hard work and dedication to Northwest Trek and willingness to assist at any time,” said volunteer coordinator Jessica Steele. Six volunteers have each given more than 20 years of service to the wildlife park. Another three have given at least ten years. It’s likely you’ve met a volunteer while visiting Northwest Trek. Many of them have probably …

Apr 15, 2022

Metro Parks Tacoma’s Dickman Mill Park and groundbreaking nature science education curriculum Wildlife Champions have won 2022 Spotlight Awards from the Washington Recreation & Park Association (WRPA). The awards, open to any Washington parks district, were announced Thursday night at the annual WRPA conference in Bellevue, Washington. The Spotlight Award category recognizes outstanding achievement in facilities, parks, trails or programs by parks and recreation agencies. “Metro Parks is extremely proud of both of these outstanding contributions to our community, which perfectly fulfil our mission of creating healthy opportunities to play, learn and grow,” said Andrea Smith, Park Board president. “We’re …

Apr 01, 2022

For the fourth consecutive year, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park are certified as sensory-inclusive venues by a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing understanding, acceptance, and inclusion for people with sensory needs. “We want every guest to feel welcome and comfortable throughout their visit,” said Alan Varsik, director of Point Defiance Zoo and Northwest Trek. “Becoming sensory-inclusive helps us engage with everyone in our community and awaken a connection to wildlife.” In 2019, the two sister zoos were among the first venues in Washington to become sensory-certified through KultureCity. Today, eight venues in the state are …

Mar 25, 2022

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park will be open daily (April 2-April 10) just in time for spring breaks and there will be plenty to see and do. Both wild animals and the animals at Northwest Trek become much more active in spring as it warms up and natural food sources become more abundant. Watch Active Bears Both the black bears and grizzly bears seem to be getting their full energy back and will be viewable over spring breaks. The black bears at Northwest Trek are waking up from torpor, a state in which a bear’s body temperature, respiratory rate and metabolic …

Feb 22, 2022

This Black History Month, we sat down with Sunni, a zookeeper at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park who helps make the park the incredibly special place it is. We asked her about her experiences in zookeeping and what working with animals and wildlife means to her. Q: What is your favorite part of the job? A: I love working with and creating a relationship with the animals. I also enjoy creating fun and special moments with children on the Keeper Adventure Tours I lead. It’s wonderful watching them discover something new and cool and seeing their reaction to the animals. Q: …