ISSAQUAH, Wash. — From a hungry porcupine to a docile wallaby, animal encounters have returned to Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah.
"It's still a great, safe, fun, educational thing to do outside,” said director Jarod Munzer.
Close encounters have long been part of the experience at the small non-profit zoo, but they were put on hold because of COVID. Now, most of them are back.
Guests can buy apple cups in the gift shop to feed alpacas, mule deer and reindeer.
Visitors can also get to know Juanita, a blue-throated macaw who’s part of an educational show where she takes flight.
The extra-special meetings happen for scheduled events like birthday parties. Guests can meet and feed an African Crested Porcupine, or give scritches to a baby wallaby named Anala.
Munzer said the interactions are deeper than just cute moments.
"It's great enrichment for the animals,” he said. "The more people we can have come to the zoo and learn something new, the more it will benefit all these species that are out there."
Cougar Mountain Zoo is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m..