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Take your Wild Child to the Wild

August 4, 2020

For many parents, 2020's stay-at-home orders may have felt more like an up-close and personal experience with wild animals. Neighborhood walks help, but five months later you’re seeing the same kids, cats, dogs, and birds. Change your perspective and take your wild things to see more than 40 species of native Northwest animals, from bison to slugs at Northwest Trek in Tacoma. 

To protect visitors from COVID-19, Northwest Trek has developed two new experiences with two different tickets: 

Wild Walk

Wild Walk is the new, safe way to experience Northwest Trek’s central area. Walk the one-way paths to see lumbering grizzlies, majestic bald eagles, playful otters, cougars, wolves and more. Social distancing markers have been installed to safely guide you. 

Animals you may see:

  • Cats like cougar, bobcat, and Canadian lynx
  • Canines like gray wolves and red fox
  • Black bears and grizzlies
  • Barn owls, snowy owls, bald eagles, and golden eagles
  • Forest and wetland animals like raccoons, wolverines, skunk, beavers, badgers, and otters

Fine print

  • Face coverings required (face shields do not qualify) for employees and all visitors older than five years old
  • Bring credit cards — no cash accepted 
  • The outdoor food kiosk is open
  • Tram rides are unavailable
  • The Kids’ Trek playground, Zip Wild, Cheney Discovery Center, the Baker Cabin, Forest Cafe and Gift Shop are all temporarily closed due to COVID-19

Wild Drive

On this drive, everyone gets a window seat so there will be no fighting. Before COVID-19, visitors would board a tram to tour the park. For the first time, visitors can drive their own vehicles through the 435 acre free-roaming area. Experience the awe and wonder of seeing a moose or newborn bison calf from the comfort and safety of your own vehicle. Drive by roaming herds of Roosevelt elk and mountain goats while following the governor’s health and safety protocols. 

Animals you may see:

  • Moose 
  • Mountain goat
  • Elk
  • American bison
  • Caribou
  • Black tailed deer
  • Bighorn sheep
  • Trumpeter swans

Fine print

  • Timed online tickets with one family or household per vehicle 
  • Face coverings required in the restrooms and for park entry, but not while you are in your vehicle 

Port supports state tourism 

The visitor industry is a vital and significant segment of King County and Washington state’s economy, and is essential to the Port of Seattle because SEA Airport is the primary gateway for air visitation for our state. COVID-19 has acutely damaged employment in Washington State’s travel sector. 

  • Through the end of April, job losses within the leisure and hospitality sector represented 42 percent of all job losses in the state
  • From March 1 through May 23, hotel room revenue declined by 72 percent 
  • For the week ending June 28, 2020, traffic at SEA International Airport averaged 15,500 passengers through TSA (a 75 percent reduction over 2019) 

To rebuild state tourism and generate consumer confidence around travel, the Port announced a partnership with the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA), the official destination marketing organization for Washington State. Funding will kick off a multifaceted statewide marketing program over the next 15 months to positively impact the state and the Port’s travel assets, bring important travel service and hospitality jobs back, and help lift this important sector of Washington State’s economy out of the doldrums. Tourism marketing research and travel studies reflect that as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, “local drive markets” or traveling within home state areas will return quicker followed gradually by domestic air travel. The goal of this agreement is to work collaboratively and maximize travel volume to Washington state that improves economic impact, tax revenue, and supports industry jobs.

Read the recent commission agreement to boost Washington State tourism

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