Seattle Aquarium & Zoo

If you love all animals from A to Z, then you will enjoy spending time at the Seattle Aquarium and Woodland Park Zoo. The aquarium is located on Pier 59 along Elliot Bay. The zoo is at Phinney Ridge.

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Jaguar Close Up at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington

This close-up profile of a jaguar (panthera onca) is one of two that you will find at the Jaguar Cove at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington. Their range is from Mexico through South America. It is estimated only 10,000 still live in the wild and their number is dwindling. Jaguar, the name for this nocturnal hunter, is a Native American word meaning “killer that takes its prey in a single bound.”

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Arctic Fox at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington

The arctic fox from the north polar region looks like an adorable plush toy. He is seen here wearing his summer outfit. In the winter, the animal’s fur turns thick and snow white. This coat was popular among hunters until fur farms emerged. This is one of about a dozen mammals that thrive in the frigid Arctic temperatures. In fact, it only begins to shiver at a temperature of minus 90° F. This arctic fox can be viewed at the Northern Trail section of the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington.

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Steller’s Sea Eagle at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington

The Steller’s sea eagle is an enormous raptor from the coastline and rivers of northeastern Asia. An adult female can grow to 20 pounds with a body length of 41 inches and a wingspan of eight feet. These dimensions are much larger than the American bald eagle. Scientifically known as haliaeetus pelagicus, these powerful birds watch for food with their incredible vision from tall trees or while circling about 20 feet. Then they dive into the water to retrieve a trout or salmon in its sharp, curved talons. This eagle can be seen in the Northern Trail section of Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington.

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Mountain Goat Profile at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington

There is a good reason why this is called a mountain goat: it lives in rocky terrain above the timberline up to 10,000 feet along the northwestern mountains and coasts of North America. This billy’s white coat is one of two protecting him in climates of minus 50° F with strong, sustained winds. Adult males can reach 225 pounds. Their black horns add growth rings during their 12 to 15 year lifespan. There are about 40,000 to 100,000 mountain goats climbing rocks in the wild. It is easier to see them at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington.

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Hippo in Water Close Up at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington

You would think it is hard to make a hippopotamus disappear. However, this several thousand pound hippo was on the bottom of a stagnant pond at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle when I approached the African Savanna exhibit. While I was searching in vain, he suddenly emerged like a submarine and blew water from his snout. Fortunately, he waited for my jangled nerves to recover so I could get this photo.

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Hippo Very Close in Water at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington

It did not require a telephoto lens to get an extreme close up of this enormous hippopotamus. Those bulging pink eyes were about three feet away as he surfaced from a pool in the African Savanna section of the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. The hippo is the third largest land animal and can weigh up to three tons. Their native habitat is lakes, swamps and rivers in central and southern Africa. The Greek translation of the name means “river horse.”

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African Lion Male Resting at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington

This male lion resting at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle looks like he is lying in the light-colored savanna grasses of his native Africa. His blond mane is perfectly coiffured, his eyes are bright and intense plus his expression is alert yet content. A beautiful animal!

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Harbor Seal and Reflection at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington

This harbor seal could not decide if he would rather pose for my camera or watch his reflection in the water. I suspect he was vain because most of the time was spent staring at his mirrored face and snorting through his V-shaped nostrils. There are about five to six million seals living in the Northern Hemisphere’s Arctic coastlines. This is probably why they are called the common seal. This one lives at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington.

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Female Cockatiel with Vertical Crest at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington

The grey face with a muted orange patch indicates this cockatiel is female. The male’s plumage is brighter yellow and orange. Her vertical crest suggests she was excited while being photographed so closely. This charming bird is at the Willawong Station, a walk-in aviary at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington. It is a common household pet and native to most of Australia.

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Golden-mantled Eastern Rosella at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington

The eastern rosella displays brilliant layers of white, red, yellow, black and green along its 12 inch body. This subspecies, called the golden-mantled rosella, adds a blue and more hues of green and yellow to the mix. The bird is beautiful and very intelligent. However, it does not make a good pet such as the budgie parakeet or cockatiel. The eastern rosella lives among other Australian parrots at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington.

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Peacock or Indian Peafowl at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington

The Indian peafowl is also called the blue peafowl for its predominately metallic blue feathers. It is India’s national bird where it lives across the country. It is also a frequent image in temples. The peacock, or male, enjoys the vibrant plumage and long train that fans out with iridescent eyespots. These 9 to 13 pound peafowl can fly but prefers to walk or strut like this one at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington.

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Spotted Unicorn Fish at Seattle Aquarium in Seattle, Washington

The Seattle Aquarium has a 25,000 gallon, wrap-around tank creating the illusion you are snorkeling in a Pacific coral reef. Among the countless marine creatures you will see is this blue spotted unicorn fish. It seems he should be cast in a Disney animated film with a gravelly voice sounding like the large-nosed singer Jimmy Durante. Another exciting feature is this fish can change colors.

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Starfish: Purple Sea Star and Leather Star at Seattle Aquarium in Seattle, Washington

An exhibit designed for kids at the Seattle Aquarium is “Life on the Edge.” Featured are sea life from the Puget Sound tide pools. Children are encouraged to lean over, dip their hands in the water and touch the colorful creatures such as these starfish. The purple sea star or ochre starfish is technically called pisaster ochraceus. The orange ones are leather stars or dermasterias imbricata.

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Wet River Otter at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington

River otters seem to live by the motto that “all play and no work makes for a great life” in the Taiga Viewing Shelter of the Northern Trail section of the Seattle Aquarium. This village of otters is a blur of motion in and out of the water. They seem like they are in a constant, tireless game of tag.

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