For parents who have had to keep their kids busy at home for the past four months, the most exciting result of King County entering Phase 2 may be the reopening of Seattle Aquarium and Woodland Park Zoo. Like everything else during the pandemic, a trip to the zoo or aquarium this summer will be different from what you’re used to. 

Seattle Aquarium is reopening with limited capacity on Monday, June 29. Timed tickets must be reserved in advance (online or by phone). Everyone over the age of 2 will be required to wear a mask, and instead of wandering freely, guests will follow a one-way route through the facility. Physical distance markers will help keep groups separated. The cafe will be closed.

Pre-coronavirus times, visitors at the Woodland Park Zoo look up at Hazel, a red panda, and one of her twin female cubs. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)
Pre-coronavirus times, visitors at the Woodland Park Zoo look up at Hazel, a red panda, and one of her twin female cubs. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

Woodland Park Zoo is reopening Wednesday, July 1, also with timed tickets and limited capacity. Online reservations are strongly recommended but not required; a limited number of tickets will be available for in-person purchase. Masks, however, are required for all visitors over the age of 2. Paths to outdoor exhibits have been converted to one-way (yes, there is a new map). Indoor exhibits and high-touch spaces such as Zoomazium, the carousel and the Family Farm will remain closed. But food service will be available.

Timed tickets are still free for aquarium and zoo members. Although entry is timed, once inside, visitors to both the zoo and the aquarium can stay as long as they like. Both facilities are following health guidelines for increased sanitization and are providing hand-sanitizer stations for guests. Restrooms and gift shops will also be open at both.