Wild Walk experience is now open with new animals for visitors to see. Wild Walk is a new, safe way to experience the park’s central area. Spot the park’s male and female lynx together for the first time ever, or a fisher that comes from an incredible background of conservation and care. Guests can also still see bears, wolves, wolverines, birds, and many other native northwest animals.
Male and female lynx now on exhibit together, new fisher joins Forest & Wetland habitat, Wild Drive continues
There’s no better place to celebrate Independence Day than with animals native to America at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park! Visitors can take a Wild Walk through the park’s central area, seeing bald eagles, wolves, grizzly bears and more or go for a Wild Drive through the park’s 435-Acre Free-Roaming Area, passing right by animals like bison or mountain goats.
Northwest Trek’s male and female lynx, Omak and Nuka, are now on exhibit together for the first time ever. Originally, the plan was to have the two cats breed, per a recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP). However, in 2019, that recommendation was reversed because Omak’s genetics were already over-represented in the lynx population. Turns out, Omak’s family members are excellent breeders!
After Northwest Trek received word of the no breeding recommendation, the veterinary staff placed a birth control implant in Nuka. That allows the cats to be together, without producing kittens.
“Nuka and Omak were first introduced behind the scenes and over time became comfortable together” said Withers. “Guests can often see them on opposite sides of the habitat, but they don’t seem to mind sharing the space. Sometimes they even share enrichment items!”
Guests can tell the two apart by their size: Nuka is just a bit smaller than Omak.
Canada lynx are endangered in Washington. The species is threatened by a number of factors, including the 2017 forest fires that destroyed much of their native habitat in Okanogan County, according to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.
There’s a new fisher in the Forest & Wetland habitat at Northwest Trek! Macklin, an 8-year-old male fisher from British Columbia, represents an incredible story of conservation and care.
Macklin was trapped in British Columbia, intended to be brought to Washington State as part of a collaborative fisher reintroduction program. There are strict restrictions for the health of fishers that are relocated, and Macklin was deemed non-releasable. That’s where Northwest Trek comes into the picture. The park has given him a new home, and Northwest Trek’s veterinary staff has given him incredible care to treat a limp, likely from his years spent in the wild.
Northwest Trek Wildlife Park continues to partner with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, the National Park Service and Conservation Northwest in the effort to restore fishers to one of their natural ranges. While the final phase of the reintroduction program has ended, the project will now focus on monitoring efforts to determine their locations, survival status, and movements, as well as a potential additional release of 10-15 fishers to the Olympics to infuse new genetics into the population.
Northwest Trek continues to offer its popular Wild Drive premier tours, which allow guests to drive through the park’s 435-acre Free-Roaming Area and see bison, mountain goats and other native northwest animals from the comfort and safety of their personal vehicles. Wild Drive is unique and unlike anything offered at Northwest Trek. One of the park’s experienced staff members will lead visitors in their vehicles into the Free-Roaming Area. With a naturalist’s assistance, visitors can spot dozens of Northwest animals that roam freely. Visitors will also enjoy a live narrated tour with engaging stories about all the species they’re seeing and what makes them special.
TICKETS & ENTRY
The park will be open 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. daily, with the last timed ticket entry at 4:30 p.m.
- There are two ways to experience the park; guests can choose either or both.
- The new Wild Drive premier tours offer a self-drive tour around the Free-Roaming Area, a 435-acre habitat home to moose, bison, mountain goats and more. Guests drive their own vehicles in a caravan with staff cars in front and behind, with audio narration about the animals seen. Wild Drive tours are $70 members/$80 non-members and must be reserved online in advance.
- The new Wild Walk is a one-way walking route around the main forested area of the park, including bears, wolves, cats, wolverines, birds and other forest and wetland animals. The new Eagle Passage exhibit is included. Wild Walk timed online tickets are $12 for adults (13+), $10 for children (3-12) and free for infants under 3. Members are free, but need to reserve their timed online tickets in advance.
- The Cheney Discovery Center, Baker Cabin, Kids’ Trek playground, Discovery tram tour and café are temporarily closed.
- Food, beverages and gifts may be purchased at outdoor kiosks. No outside food is allowed except for dietary restrictions.
- Guests are encouraged to bring water bottles. Refilling stations are open, but drinking fountains are closed.
- Strollers, wheelchairs and other rentals are unavailable; guests should plan to bring their own if needed.
FACE COVERINGS REQUIRED
Because we care about the safety of our guests, staff, and animals, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park requires all guests to wear face coverings while visiting.
Exception for Children Under 5
- Children under 5 are not required to wear face coverings.
- Children ages 2, 3, and 4 are encouraged, but not required, to wear face coverings.
- Children under 2 should not wear face coverings.
If guests don’t have a face covering when they arrive, a face mask will be provided to them. All staff members and volunteers are also required to wear face masks while working.
To learn more and reserve tickets, go to www.nwtrek.org/open.
Northwest Trek, accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, is a 725-acre zoological park dedicated to conservation, education, and recreation by displaying, interpreting and researching native Northwest wildlife and their natural habitats. The wildlife park is a facility of Metro Parks Tacoma and is located 35 miles southeast of Tacoma off State Highway 161.