Founded in 1972, Cougar Mountain Zoo has maintained a commitment to wildlife education, with particular focus on endangered species. Sweeping views of the Cascade Mountain range and Lake Sammamish set the backdrop for myriad activities, such as daily keeper-led animal walks and minilectures led by zoo staff on two- and four-legged residents who refuse to speak English. Membership benefits include free zoo admission and a 15% discount at the zoo gift shop.
Today's side deal gets you one-day admission to the Seattle Bug Safari on Western Avenue for $4 (an $8 value). Feel your deep-seated phobias for multi-legged exoskeletons evaporate after making the acquaintance of 54 fascinating, exotic insectoid species—from behind the safety of thick glass, of course. Check the site or call ahead before dropping in, as Seattle Bug Safari is closed to the public during Groupon-exempt field trips.
For more than a century, Woodland Park Zoo's 92 acres of exhibits have provided an urban oasis replete with nearly 1,100 individual animals, representing almost 300 species and 75 animal vocations, such as jaguar dentist. Ooh and ahh your way through more than a dozen exhibits representing the exotic wilds of Australia, Africa, and Bug World. Should the sight of the king of the jungle paralyze you with fear, visit the golden lion tamarin, an endangered Brazilian primate that was hunted for its fur by hopelessly misinformed gold prospectors. Debate the appropriate classification of the red panda (aka the firefox), or marvel at the soaring majesty and silly names of the Hottentot teal, bufflehead duck, and Temminick's tragopan. The diverse array of flora and fauna ensures that every art lover will uncover a masterpiece within Mother Nature's gallery.
Yuen Lui Studios, a family-owned photography business specializing in individual and family portraits and wedding photography, creates photographic heirlooms in a tradition of quality it has upheld since 1947. With several area Yuen Lui studios available, each boasts a multitude of backdrop options for portraiture sessions, or photographers may take sessions outdoors to add natural scenery to the frame. Wedding and engagement shots come to life under the careful eyes of each photographer as they seize rare moments and trap them in frames to be displayed like trophies from a hunt. High-school, child, baby, and family portraits keep precious memories locked in time for clients, who can peruse an online gallery of their images after their session.
"The Reptile Man" Scott Petersen melds his passions for both education and reptiles at his zoo, which he calls the Serpentarium, where kids can touch or hold most of the inhabitants. Inside, snakes, lizards, gators, and turtles slowly slither or amble around their enclosures, visible to curious eyes. Ten of the deadliest snakes in the world—such as the king cobra and the horned viper—live on site, all de-venomized with only their angry glares and angsty poetry left as weapons. The zoo is also home to invertebrates, including some of the planet's biggest spiders, centipedes, and cockroaches. An onsite party room hosts birthday bashes with a focus on education and absolutely no snakes hiding in the cake.
An octopus gently pushes itself through crystal waters, sea otters twist and flip at the surface as they work through a crab, shore birds perch over pools, and between them all visitors smile in wonder. Seattle Aquarium has attracted millions of guests to its waters with such exhibits since it opened more than 35 years ago. By combining environments for fish, mammal, and avian species, the aquarium captures a slice of the Puget Sound ecosystem, inspiring guests to examine the breadth of life off their shores and how their daily actions impact it. Feedings and daily talks about the animals expand on the wealth of information, whereas touch pools allow many to experience life in the waters in a way they never have before.
In addition to being the ninth largest aquarium in the United States, the Seattle Aquarium is home to biologists who conduct critical research on northern sea otters, the giant Pacific octopus, and other Puget Sound species as part of efforts to contribute to the health of the local marine environment. Focused exhibits work to raise awareness about conservation by imparting an understanding of the threatened orca whale and the sixgill shark—the third-largest predatory shark in the world.