Eatonville, Wash. – Experience the awe and wonder of seeing a moose or mountain goat from the comfort and safety of your own car. Spot a newborn bison calf with EVERYONE getting a window seat.
That’s the new Wild Drive premier tour opening to the public May 27 at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. The unique experience opens up the wildlife park’s famous Free-Roaming Area to visitors while keeping everyone safe and healthy.
“Wild Drive is unlike anything we’ve ever offered at Northwest Trek,” said Tim Reid, president of the Metro Parks Tacoma Board of Commissioners. “We’re excited to offer our community an unforgettable opportunity to experience wildlife and nature up close in a safe way during this time of social-distancing restrictions.”
Following the governor’s safety protocols for phase one activities, this innovative guided experience allows families or households to tour the stunning meadows and forests of the wildlife park’s 435-acre Free-Roaming Area in a small caravan of cars, led in front and behind by park staff for everyone’s safety.
Guests learn about the native northwest species they’re seeing as they drive by roaming herds of Roosevelt elk and massive bison. Other native Northwest animals that can be spotted on this new premier tour include majestic moose, curious mountain goats, bighorn sheep, black-tailed deer, woodland caribou and a pair of snowy-white trumpeter swans. Keen-eyed participants may even spot a newborn bison calf and her mother as the popular baby animal season begins at the wildlife park.
“By driving themselves around our Free-Roaming Area, our guests can see our animals the way our keepers do – up close and in their natural habitats,” Rick Dietz, Northwest Trek’s deputy director.
Guests on the tour will purchase timed tickets online, meet in their vehicles near the wildlife park’s front entrance, then caravan down to enter the Free-Roaming Area through a special keeper gate. An experienced naturalist then will lead the caravan of vehicles, winding over the roads through serene meadows, shady wetlands and dappled forest, and slowing to a crawl when animals are spotted.
Guests can download a live audio app so they can hear the naturalist leading the tour talk in real time about the native Northwest species they are seeing as they drive by.
The Wild Drive premier tours will operate while the rest of the wildlife park is temporarily closed to the public due to the governor’s safety restrictions. The entire tour takes about an hour and costs $80 per vehicle with a discounted price of $70 per vehicle for Northwest Trek members.
Northwest Trek’s Wild Drive tour is a premier animal-watching experience at a zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, which ensures the highest standards of animal care and welfare. No animal feeding or interaction is allowed, and Northwest Trek staff ensure the health, safety and comfort of all animals during the experience.
For more information, visit www.nwtrek.org/wild-drive.