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“Hidden Gem with Christmas Reindeer”

Cougar Mountain Zoo
Ranked #3 of 32 things to do in Issaquah
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 5, 2013

We have lived in the area for several years but never visited the zoo before. Our grandchildren were visiting and we were looking for things to do and stumbled across this option. The zoo is well organized with a several unique animals for a zoo this size. The reindeer were particularly festive during this time of year. The children enjoyed feeding the various animals and birds. It takes about 2 hours to see the entire zoo so it was a great way to spend this time out of the house at a fun activity for the children.

Thank Average-Joe-1215
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"woodland park"
in 5 reviews
"big cats"
in 4 reviews
"birthday party"
in 4 reviews
"couple of hours"
in 5 reviews
"white tiger"
in 3 reviews
"tiger feeding"
in 3 reviews
"entrance fee"
in 3 reviews
"small size"
in 2 reviews
"we spent hours"
in 2 reviews
"cool animals"
in 2 reviews
"magic forest"
in 2 reviews
"amazing animals"
in 2 reviews
"fun outing"
in 2 reviews
"clean grounds"
in 2 reviews
"feed the animals"
in 4 reviews
"ask questions"
in 2 reviews
"lake sammamish"
in 5 reviews
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108 - 112 of 162 reviews

Reviewed December 12, 2012

You wouldn't expect a zoo in Issaquah to present excellent endangered species exhibits, but this does. It's also one of the largest Madagascar lemur habitats in the country.

Thank cool_jonez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 29, 2012

First off I love birds! They have a large community of birds to look at and they are all out of the cage and ready to talk to you! We took my daughter to have her 1 year photos taken there and it was just perfect. There is a park area with a beautiful view of lake Sammamish. Although the zoo is small, it is nice to take small children cause of their attention span. Lots of nice landscaping and metal statues make this zoo more Park like and not so commercial!

Thank Molly M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2012

I've lived in the Seattle area for most of my 48 years and in that entire time, I have never visited the Cougar Mountain Zoo. I tried to get my family to go along, but couldn't get them to go because they didn't want to spend $40 to see a "small" zoo and the last time my wife went, she said it was small and not much to see. So, I went by myself to check it out...

Wow!

I come to this place and it looks like it was built yesterday. Brand new asphalt, marble signs, gleeming steel everywhere. Geeze, this is a 40 year old zoo??? It is also stuffed to the gills with huge bronze animal artworks - even if you're not interested in animials, you should just come to see the worlds biggest collection of animal bronzes.

Now, it's true it isn't a big zoo. I'd say, you could easily see everything in an hour and a half. But what it doesn't have in size, it makes up for in wow. Because it is a small zoo, they don't have room for large spaces to separate you from the animals - in fact, there is practically no separation at all. The cougar cage looks like the velociraptor cage in Jurassic Park. And the only thing separating you and 3 big man eating cougars is something that looks like vertically strung thick piano wire. Hey, you keep birds in with piano wire, not the worlds strongest cat! When I was there, a baby was sitting on the railing while the Cougar was jumping up on the wires with is paws going through the wire. I guess the Cougar was trying to play with baby. If I wanted to, I could have easly shook hands with the Cougar. Now that sounds dangerous, but it isn't - I'm sure the enclosures are very well designed and safe - although if I were stupid enough to try to shake the Cougar's hand - that would be my bad. I'm just saying this because you're not going to get that kind of intimate interaction like that from any other zoo, possibly in the entire world. But because of this, you need to keep a close eye on your children who might not know it's not a good idea to pet the "kitty". So that's why I say "Wow!". There are signs all over warning you that the animals bite, spit, spray, grab and ten other things you don't want to happen to you. So there is a price to be paid for so much "intimacy".

They have exotic animals here that I have never ever seen in any other zoo. Like they have the tigers from Siegfried & Roy - a rare white tiger. They have the birds from Rio, including the blue parrots - the parrots like to say "hello" as you walk by. The birds are just sitting out in the open on their perches, almost close enough to touch. It's a wonder they just don't all walk away. They also have less exotic animals and you can feed them for 50 cents in quarters. So if you want to feed the emu's, bring some quarters - although those emu's look like they could peck your eyes out and thier feet look like modern day dinosarus. You wouldn't see them this close in any other zoo.

The feeling you get when you visit this zoo, I can only describe as being like the recent movie "We bought a zoo". The zoo keeper who took my ticket and was later wandering around the tiger enclosure reminded me of role played by Scarlett Johansson. She was just as sweet as could be and you could tell she loved the animals, her job and she had lots of interesting things to say about them. If you go, be sure to chat up the zoo keepers there, if you don't I'd think you be missing something special.

Admission is $11.50 for adults and that sounds steep, but still less than the $11.70 charged by the Woodland Park Zoo. I was so impressed, I wanted to support them with a membership which start at $85 for 3 people plus $25 for any extra people. That would be a budget busting $185 for my family of 7. Now I really, really, really, don't like how family memberships have started charging by the person. They do this at Woodland Park Zoo as well. Don't they know that larger families have less money to pay for zoo memberships? I mean I can easily justify a membership if I can get my money back in 2 vists but this is just ridiculous. It turns out that the 3 person membership comes with 3 free passes so I can get my family in for a single visit for the $85 membership, plus I can deduct the cost of my $11.50 I paid for admission, so that is what I do.

I am so impressed by this zoo, that I still want to help more by buying a personalized brick so they can finish their cheetah exhibit. The brick costs $40 which seems like a bargain compared the the brick I bought at the Point Defiance Zoo for $200. So if you're looking for a place to leave your legacy, this is a pretty cheap place to do it.

So, don't wait 48 years to come see this place - just don't try to shake the cougar's paws OK?
I'm not responsible for anything that happens to you on your visit - you have been warned! But prepare to be amazed.

3  Thank WSReview
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 4, 2012

Set in beautiful grounds with lots of wonderful statues. Great views of Lake Sammamish. The animals are well looked after and the keepers do some very good talks with the parrots and cougars. Not a big zoo, so won't tire the adults out, but enough to see to keep the kids happy. And you can feed some of the animals, just buy the food at the kiosk.

Thank gonzocbr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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