SEATTLE — Lulu is a sensation. A social-media darling, with her own hashtag since birth.
Flashy and leggy, the 3-month-old giraffe entertains fans of all ages.
— Woodland Park Zoo (@woodlandparkzoo) September 6, 2017
Lulu (aka #tallestbaby) is not the only creature with animal magnetism. She’s one of many stars at Woodland Park Zoo.
Aibek, a snow leopard cub born July 6, also has been grabbing the spotlight. And hiding from it. Sometimes he’s shy about showing his spots.
— Woodland Park Zoo (@woodlandparkzoo) September 21, 2017
The nice thing about going to the zoo is that there is something of interest for all Homo sapiens.
Drink a pint, shop, delight in the landscape and, of course, wonder at the wildlife.
Passionate about penguins? This is your place.
Furry bears? Check.
Creepy reptiles? Slither up next to one.
“We all have our favorites,” said Staci Scheffer of Monroe. “Lulu is a bonus.”
Scheffer visits several times a year with her brood and a baby orangutan doll that truly looks real.
Her daughter got the lifelike Ashton Drake “So Truly Real” monkey, named Umi by the dollmaker, eight years ago and it’s a tradition to bring it to the zoo.
“We love to show Umi to the apes, and they get really excited. Same with the orangutans. They come really close and look at it and stare at it,” Scheffer said. “We can sit there for hours looking at them, gawking at them.”
Umi gets a double-take from zoo visitors as well. Some ask if they bought the doll at the zoo gift shop. No, but there is plenty else to buy. In addition to the usual souvenirs, there are pints of Worm Doo, the zoo’s special blend of fertilizer. After all, with so many animals to scoop up after, the zoo has some of the best crap around.
Woodland Park is a horticultural wonderland. Some people come to see the flora.
Some come for special events. The pumpkin bash is Oct. 28 and 29. The winter holiday extravaganza WildLights starts Nov. 24.
Brew at the Zoo, with about 55 varieties of brews to sample, is Oct. 5, but you can get a beer or glass of wine at zoo restaurants year-round.
Zoo spokeswoman Gigi Allianic said fall is a good time to visit the zoo.
“The animals are more active. When it’s hot, they just want to lie around,” she said.
Except for Lulu, who was born June 20.
“She has been galloping since day one, when we first put her outside in the corrals,” Allianic said.
One fascinating unofficial exhibit is watching the crows steal food from the brigade of strollers parked outside the Zoomazium, an indoor facility with nature-themed areas for little kids. There are warning signs not to leave food outside, but these are often ignored, much to the delight of the crows that artfully swoop down and fly away toting a tidy feast of fingerfood and Cheerios. The birds like to chow down on the roof of the nearby butterfly garden, which is closed for the season.
If watching or feeding the animals isn’t enough, you can even look like one. A face painter can fix you up.
Wyatt Barth, 6, of Issaquah got transformed into a jaguar.
“I wanted something wild,” he said.
He’s been to the zoo many times. His family are zoo members. Memberships are $49 a year for adults and $19 for a child (ages 3 to 18), a small price for the family to have a go-to outing that tuckers out the kiddos and gives parents reassurance there are animals wilder than their own offspring.
“It’s a couple of hours of fun and being outside,” said Wyatt’s mom, Jen. “They just got to pet a python.”
Visitors don’t have to leave at closing time.
You can spend the night at the zoo, in habitats designed for humans. Sleep in the Zoomazium or the education center, or bring your own tent.
Breakfast is included, and it’s not the same stuff they feed the apes. Though you might wish it was whatever Lulu is drinking.
Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @reporterbrown.
If you go
Woodland Park Zoo is at 5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle.
Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through March 31. Closed Christmas Day.
Admission is $14.95, ages 13-64; $12.95 for seniors; $9.95 ages 3-12; free for 2 and under.
Call 206-548-2500 or go to www.zoo.org for more.
Sample about 55 varieties of imports, domestics, microbrews and ciders from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 5. Must be 21.
Hippos, bears, Malayan tigers, lemurs and other animals crunch, smash or stomp on pumpkins from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 28 and 29.
Holiday fun with sparkling lights, faux snowball fights, Santa and his reindeer is Nov. 24 through Jan. 1. Closed Dec. 24 and 25.
Lulu and the rest of the giraffe herd can be seen on exhibit or in the outdoor corral at the giraffe barn from 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Their location will vary depending on weather. Follow #tallestbaby on the zoo’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates and to share photos and stories.
See baby gorilla Yola growing and exploring the outdoors with mom, Nadiri, and the other two members who live with her, Leonel and Akenji, in the outdoor exhibit from 12:30 to 4 p.m. daily through February.
The penguin feeding experience is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or until the fish run out. Feed the tuxedo-clad birds for $5. Feeding is subject to cancellation due to weather or penguins’ appetites.
Visitors can see baby cub Aibek and his family from noon to 3 p.m. daily in the Australasia exhibit. The name Aibek is Kyrgyzstani and means “will live for many moons.”
Join the global scavenger hunt for three geocaches. Go to www.geocaching.org to learn more and start caching today.
Rides on the classic, hand-carved wooden horses are 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends and holidays. Cost is $2.
Overnight and evening adventures
Bring your class, troop, group or family for an evening that includes a light dinner, themed activities and guided tours.
Spend the night. Sleep in the Zoomazium ($55) or the education center ($50). Bring your own tent ($60). More at www.zoo.org/overnights or 206-548-2424 ext. 4.