If it’s been a while since you’ve made the trip out to Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville, now is the time to do it. The collection of bears, cats, canines, and birds that you can observe at the wildlife park were recently joined by an exciting new species: the bald eagle.
Eagle Passage, the first new animal exhibit to come to Northwest Trek in several years, opened on Aug. 3, just weeks after the park’s 44th anniversary. The walk-through exhibit shows off the bald eagles just a short walk from the park’s entrance.
“[It is] one of the most exciting, interactive animal habitats in the history of Northwest Trek, showcasing America’s symbol – the bald eagle – in a breathtaking way,” Aaron Pointer, president of the Metro Parks Tacoma Board of Commissioners, said in a statement.
Visitors walking through the habitat are separated from the birds by a protective mesh material that still allows for an intimate experience. The birds that populate Eagle Passage are not releasable to the wild; at Northwest Trek, they’ll be a part of an effort to educate people about bald eagles and inspire them to make conservation commitments.
“We believe our guests will instantly connect with these animals, learn the story of the species’ recovery, and leave thinking about things they can do to protect eagles and other animals in the wild,” Alan Varsik, director of Metro Parks’ Zoological & Environmental Education division, said in a statement.
This spirit of conservation fits with Northwest Trek’s mission to educate people about native Northwest species in order to affect change.
On top of the learning element, portions of the new exhibit are solely for the sake of fun: visitors can crawl into a life-sized eagle’s “nest” or spread their arms against a graphic of an eagle’s wingspan to see how they compare.
“Get ready for an up-close, eagle-eye view,” said Northwest Trek Education Curator Jessica Moore. “Eagle Passage will be something to see.”
Regular admission or a membership to Northwest Trek will cover a trip to see the eagles. Visit nwtrek.org to learn more about park hours and the new Eagle Passage exhibit.