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Zoomazium turns 10 and you're invited to the birthday party!

Posted by: Kristi Dodds, Education

Photo: Mat Hayward/Woodland Park Zoo.

It was ten years ago that Zoomazium first opened its doors and I still remember the hustle and bustle to prepare vividly. We were working late into the night to take care of any last minute changes and put on all those finishing touches to make sure everything would be perfect for the grand opening. After all, this place would be the destination of some of the most opinionated and strong-willed visitors that come to the zoo—children.

Photo: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

I can recall opening day like it was yesterday,  picturing all the kids wide-eyed with anticipation and noses glued to the toddler door just waiting for us to open and let them in.

This year marks the milestone of Zoomazium’s 10th year since opening in May of 2006. Over 3 million visitors later, the look and feel of the building has not changed drastically, but the programs, themes and technology have evolved quite a bit. Zoomazium is now a destination for families to engage in Creature Feature, where kids can get an up close view of, learn about and have an opportunity to touch a real live zoo animal. In the quieter months of fall and winter, Zoomazium is host to families that come regularly, looking for nature inspired play even during the dreariest of Pacific Northwest days.

Photo: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

What started as an indoor nature play space for families has become so much more. Over the years, Zoomazium has grown into a place for early learners to explore the wonders of nature and have experiences to promote empathy, literacy skills, development of gross and fine motor skills, and even participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities.

Photo: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

Zoomazium has become a true gem in the community. Frequent visitors have become part of our zoo family and we develop relationships with the children and their grownups alike. It is bittersweet to really get to know these kids, only to have them grow up and leave our nest.

Photo: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

I think back to my own experiences as a mom, since my daughter too will be turning 10 this year and has grown up with Zoomazium. Back in the early days she was exploring with all the other wee ones in the Toddler Zone, sitting quietly when it was time for Creature Feature and rocking out when the music started for Shake, Rattle and Roar. She has been here for many of the special appearances, from a life-size baby T. rex performance to the casts of STOMP and Cats.

Photo: Kristi Dodds/Woodland Park Zoo.

Now she too, like many of our families, has begun to outgrow Zoomazium. But she will always carry with her the experiences and ideas that Zoomazium opened her eyes to, and luckily there is a never ending stream of new families who will discover next all the amazing experiences Zoomazium has to offer.

Here’s to 10 years and counting. Like with any 10 year old’s birthday, we’re inviting all our friends to come play! Celebrate this weekend, Sat. and Sun., May 14–15 and stop by to say “Happy birthday, Zoomazium!”

Use #Zoomazium to share your photos, old and new, as we celebrate!

Photo: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.