Northwest Trek Wildlife Park reopens Thursday

VIDEO: Northwest Trek Wildlife Park will reopen with new safety protocols

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — Sleepy snow owls, relaxed big cats and grazing grizzlies can be spotted inside Northwest Trek Wildlife Park.

It’s been a quiet few months during the coronavirus closure, but that changes this week.

“We think it’s going to be a pretty busy weekend. It is Father’s Day weekend and the weather looks great,” said Jessica Moore, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park education curator.

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Members, like the Walters family, got to walk around the park before Thursday’s reopening. Traci and her kids, McKinlee and Huxton, were eager to get out of the house.

“Oh yeah, [the kids are] like, ‘Let’s go to the zoo! Let’s go Northwest Trek!’ OK, let’s go,” said Traci.

“I’m super happy,” said McKinlee.

Inside the park there are safety modifications, including a one-way guided loop with arrows to follow.

“We have given it a new name, it is Wild Walk,” said Moore.

Indoor spaces, like the café, are closed, but there’s a gift shop and food stand outside.

Masks are encouraged, there are sanitizer stations set up around the park and staff members have painted green paw prints on the ground to help with six-foot distancing.

“It helps us to visualize our social distancing, helps us to remember, helps my 7-year-old to remember, so she’s not in people’s faces,” said Traci.

Northwest Trek is also offering the Wild Drive tour, which gives guests the opportunity to drive their cars through the free-roaming area to see animals, like bison, mountain goats, moose and more.

The tour opened in May and it’s been a hit. Tickets are sold out for weeks, which, workers said, is good news for the animals.

“Having guests in the park means there’s revenue coming in and revenue coming in means we can care for and maintain these wonderful animal species that we have,” said Moore.

Northwest Trek’s reopening is also great for guests, who can once again reconnect with the wild.

“It’s a walk in the park, it’s going out and seeing nature as it should be, enjoying this beautiful scenery and the beautiful animals,” said Moore.

Tickets to the park are limited by the hour and must be purchased in advance online.