Skip to main content
Northwest Trek News
Jul 17, 2019

“I love working here. It’s a unique place, and I love the challenges that come with it.” – Dave Meadows, Free-Roaming Area keeper, Northwest Trek 8am Dave Meadows swings into the keeper truck with the ease of someone who’s been doing it for 25 years. As he pulls slowly through the gate into the Free-Roaming Area, he’s already on duty. Alert eyes scan the road ahead and forest to either side. It’s something he’ll be doing constantly over the next two hours, whether he’s driving around the 435-acre habitat, pulling out feed buckets or taking radio calls from fellow keepers. …

Jul 08, 2019

“People think that being a zookeeper is just playing with animals all day long. Actually, it’s caring for them and making their lives meaningful. And getting visitors to connect with them. That’s amazing to do.” – Wendi Mello, Wetlands keeper, Northwest Trek 7:30am Wendi Mello arrives at Northwest Trek for the early shift. On this mid-summer morning it’s a fine time to be working outside in a forest, but in winter it’s dark, cold and frequently icy. But for Mello, that’s all part of the job. As one of the keepers in the Forest/Wetlands habitat, she cares for otters, beavers, …

Jul 02, 2019

“The reason I love it here is because we care for native wildlife. If you go hiking in the Northwest, you’ll never see a lion or zebra, but you might see elk or black bear. Teaching people how to live conflict-free with wildlife – that’s what’s so cool about this job.” – Haley Withers, carnivore keeper, Northwest Trek 10:30am Haley Withers is hot and sweaty. She’s been whacking weeds in the wolf habitat for two and a half hours, and now it’s time to clean out grizzly bear dens. “We wear many hats,” she says with a small smile, of …

Jun 18, 2019

For Northwest Trek guests, the Keeper Adventure Tour through the Free-Roaming Area is a mix of off-road thrills and up-close animals. But for keeper Deanna Edwards, it’s a way to share a passion for wildlife – combined with friendliness, unflagging animal care and some serious driving skills. “I’m always doing new things, like this track here,” she says, gunning the tour jeep up a muddy track into a perfect three-point-turn. “That’s one of the great things about the Free-Roaming Area. I’m also in keeper mode, playing Where’s Waldo with the animals and making sure they’re all okay. But what I …

Jun 05, 2019

Dads deserve to get a bit wild every so often – and Northwest Trek is the perfect place to do it! Bring Dad out to see our bison, moose, mountain goat kids and grizzly cubs, and buy him a gift he’ll never forget. Keeper Adventure Tour Hop into the Jeep with one of our keepers and get off-road in the Free-Roaming Area to see bison, elk, mountain goats and more – all close enough to sniff! Hear stories, watch what our keepers do and take the best moose selfies ever. Tours run 10:30am and 1pm daily through Sept. 1.   …

May 29, 2019

Soar like an eagle on a zip line Our bald eagles are coming this summer to Eagle Passage, and you can swoop with the same grace and speed (well, almost) on one of our five exhilarating zip line course, from Super Kid (ages 5 and up) through Sensation (ages 18+). Book here.   Build like a beaver at Kids’ Trek Beavers are nature’s engineers, reshaping their environment to build dams and lodges. Build a fort of branches in our Kids’ Trek playground and test out your engineering skills! Then come visit our beavers in the Forest+Wetland habitat, resting, swimming or …

May 13, 2019

It’s not for the faint of heart. You have to talk to strangers, spend hours outside or even wade through cold ponds. But volunteering at Northwest Trek is infinitely rewarding – for yourself and for the planet. Richard Richard Nichols is standing beside a cart on the Bear Bridge. He’s been a volunteer at Northwest Trek for a year, and he knows exactly what to say when a family wanders along, the father looking around uncertainly. “Tram?” says Nichols, succinctly. The father nods. Nichols points down to the Discovery Tram Tour station. “That way, sir. Keep going and you’ll find …

Apr 10, 2019

Katherine Miles sits on the Northwest Trek tram, her face glued to the window. Like any other kid, she’s mesmerized by the fluffy white mountain goat kids squeezed onto a single log by the lake. But unlike a lot of other kids at the wildlife park, she’s also nestling a weighted lap pad on her lap, and her headphones aren’t channeling anything but silence. Twelve-year-old Katherine is one of the first visitors to make use of Northwest Trek’s new sensory-inclusive tools – and the difference it’s making to her Trek experience is huge. “It’s like night and day,” says mom …

Feb 11, 2019

Maybe it was the bison. Maybe it was the towering evergreens and tranquil lake. Or maybe it just felt like home. But when Mike and Amelia Sharpe first visited Northwest Trek to see if they wanted to get married there, the decision was instant. “We looked at each other and we knew,” says the couple, who not only held their wedding at Northwest Trek in July, 2017 but went back for an anniversary visit in 2018. “We didn’t look anywhere else.” Northwest Beauty A big part of it was that the wildlife park felt like home. Native Washingtonians, Mike and …

Oct 24, 2018

Experiencing a Northwest Trek Virtual Field Trip   You could almost touch the anticipation. Twenty first-graders from Tacoma’s Roosevelt Elementary waved excitedly to the face on the big screen in the front of their room – and as teacher Kaylin Gasparach toggled with the screen windows, the face waved back. It was Wendi Mello, keeper at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, and as the class gasped, the owl on her arm slowly turned its head and blinked. Mello – and the owl – were taking the class on a raptor adventure full of science, learning and animals – a Northwest Trek …