Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, located just 55 miles south of Seattle, near Eatonville and makes for an exciting day trip and at this time of year, there are baby animals galore to spot from the 50-minute tram ride through the area where animals roam free.
The 725-acre park began with a gift of land and a commitment to show North American animals in natural habitats. The tram has windows all around, so you can get a great look at bighorn sheep, caribou, bison and mountain goats – and beavers. Some of the animals stand inches away from the tram.
In the wetlands exhibit, the beaver kits are already growing fast and learning to explore their environment.
According to NW Trek staff, at birth, beaver kits are small enough to fit in the palm of a hand—and they look just like miniature adults, with all their fur and their signature tails, Heinzman said. Mama beaver spends plenty of time in her den, grooming the kits and helping them settle in.
“The kits are like little fuzz balls. They’re pretty adorable,” Heinzman said.
As they grow, they’ll explore their environment, swim in their pool and start breaking down logs, he added. “Their parents will show them the ropes for all the things that beavers do.”
Northwest Trek’s herd of 23 bison is the second largest among Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ accredited zoos in the United States, Zoological Curator Marc Heinzman said. There are roughly 254 bison in U.S. zoos, meaning that Northwest Trek has nearly 10 percent of that number.
More information about the National Mammal designation and a list of fun facts about bison is available atwww.nwtrek.org/national-mammal
Babies grow up fast, as we all know, so visit soon if you want to catch them in their adorable stage.
Every ticket to Northwest Trek comes with a 50-minute narrated tour aboard a tram that makes a circuit through the Free-Roaming Area. Visitors often can spot bison, elk, moose, deer, bighorn sheep and other animals from the tram. Moose calf Willow, born on the wildlife park’s 40th birthday last year, is nearing her first birthday. She will be 1 year old on July 17. Willow and her mother, Connie, often are spotted by visitors on the tram tour.
Also free with membership or admission to the wildlife park is the opportunity for kids from toddlers through tweens to explore the new $1.9 million, nature-inspired Kids’ Trek playground. Children have hours of fun on the play structures, splashing in the stream, building creative structures out of sand and sticks, and getting closer to nature in the half-acre play area.
For more information and for cost to visit, go to Northwest Trek, go to www.nwtrek.org.
Northwest Trek is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and until 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.