Woodland Park Zoo Employee Reviews

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fun and enjoyable
Volunteer Pony Leader (Former Employee) –  Seattle, WAOctober 10, 2017
I only worked there during the summers as a volunteer pony leader, but over all it was a very fun active job. I enjoyed working with the ponies and then at the end of the day being able to ride them to the sounds of zoo tunes (a summer concert).
Pros
free zoo entrance
Cons
volunteer job
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It was nice
Cashier (Former Employee) –  Seattle, WAOctober 5, 2017
Fun and chill environment. Managing issues, but overall ok. Lancer Hospitality is a nice little organization. The people are friendly and all know each other. It was fun
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Awesome environment, really good job for animal lovers, not ideal in terms of advancement
Seasonal Employee - Admissions (Former Employee) –  Seattle, WASeptember 12, 2017
The Woodland Park Zoo has so many positive attributes. As an employee, you are immersed in conservation and sustainability initiatives, you get to learn about how to buy better products to reduce your impact on habitat loss and if you're lucky, they will let you do a free penguin feeding :)
The downside really comes down to the seasonal aspect of the job. A lot of people get really excited and drawn into what the zoo has to offer, then have to leave after summer and re-apply to be considered again.
Pros
Immersive and fun co-workers
Cons
Employment length and less opportunity for advancement
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Awesome workplace, permanent employment tricky
Admissions & Membership Associate (Former Employee) –  Seattle, WAAugust 31, 2017
Awesome place to work, great coworkers. I worked during the summer season which has full time positions and possibility to be brought on for off season. Off season positions are few, though, and winter hours mean that the off season part of this job is part time rather than 40 hours. I couldn't afford that and didn't want to play cutthroat to get in the running for it. I cheerfully would have stayed if it had been a full time position year round. They don't pay as much because of their smaller nonprofit status, so that's a bit of a mark against, but permanent employee benefits sounded impressive and pay would likely increase if given permanent staff position. Loved working there.
Pros
great about breaks, cheerful work environment, good managers
Cons
lower pay, not reliable year-round hours but reliable in summer
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Engaging, fun, and challenging work place
Educational Instructor (Former Employee) –  Seattle, WAAugust 8, 2017
The Woodland Park Zoo work place is a very welcoming environment, that is always offering room for growth and encouragement to add new skills and knowledge to not only the children involved in all programs, but also the employees teaching and working along side them. The hardest and most enjoyable part of this job was simultaneously knowing that the children i worked with every week were going to have such a big impact on my life, but they might not remember me at all.
Pros
Fun environment
Cons
short breaks
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If u love animals or lots of people this is the job for you
Paid Internship (Former Employee) –  Seattle, WAJune 13, 2017
every day was something new because we where dealing with the public. i was able to graduate to a zoo keeper and work hand to hand with lots of animals.
Pros
animals, people, energy, fun
Cons
working during the summer
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Best job I ever had
Zoo Store Cashier Supervisor (Former Employee) –  Seattle, WAJune 1, 2017
I started at the Woodland Park Zoo Store as a temporary cashier for a summer job. Within a month I was promoted to a supervisor with a permanent job.
I learned quickly how to run the stores (there were 2) and be a delegator. I learned how to conduct interviews, write training manuals and create product displays.
I loved the people I worked with, I met some of my best friends there and we had fun every day.
Often cashiers called out leaving the stores short staffed which could be stressful on busy days but we always excelled at taking care of everything.
The store manager was unfortunately the only downside to the job. He really did not know what he was doing and was not really part of the store's operations. The supervisors usually worked around him to assure the stores ran smoothly and the cashiers were treated well.
I loved being at the zoo every day but the stores were bought by a new company and I made the decision to leave when I wasn't offered an assistant manager position, especially since the store manager was staying.
Pros
Animals, wonderful coworkers, discounts for family
Cons
Often long hours, bad management
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Fun work environment
Membership (Current Employee) –  Seattle, WAMay 23, 2017
Talented, conservation-minded staff working hard to connect guests with endangered species and keep WPZ relevant. Beautiful grounds, and staff really care about animals and protecting them in the wild. Fantastic place to work.
Pros
92-acre urban oasis just beyond your desk
Cons
low pay
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Good place to work
GROUNDS LABORER (Former Employee) –  Seattle, WAMay 10, 2017
It was a good place to work but I wanted a more permanent position. The oversight was ok and had much freedom to be autonomous as a cleaner. The customer service aspect was excellent.
Pros
great pay
Cons
temporary position
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Fast Paced
Line Cook/Prep Cook (Former Employee) –  Seattle, WAJanuary 16, 2017
If you are wanting a fast paced environment where your shift constant work. Where your work is like a wrestling match "tag-in, tag-out" type of environment. Than this is for you.
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WPZ is hands down the best place I ever worked
Ticketing and Membership Associate (Former Employee) –  Seattle, WAApril 7, 2016
I worked there for a summer and it was phenomenal. The managers and supervisors actually care about you, the animals, and the customers. You don't get paid a ton because it's a nonprofit but my supervisor didn't try to ignore that. Instead they acknowledged it and made the workplace fun by having contests, buying pizza, and having an end of the season BBQ. I love Woodland, if I still lived in Seattle I would work there again in a heartbeat. Did I mention constant free access to the zoo?!
Pros
access to the zoo, making a difference, beautiful caring people
Cons
low pay, no job security at my level
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Definately good for volunteer experience
Volunteer (Current Employee) –  Seattle, WANovember 12, 2015
Fun and exciting, this job is a job for those who are huge animal lovers. Medium level job, memory of the zoo layout would be a good thing to have. All staff are friendly and positive, most customers are pretty easy to entertain.
Pros
discounts
Cons
people
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Great culture and fantastic organization
Admissions (Current Employee) –  Seattle, WANovember 12, 2015
WPZ is doing amazing work with wildlife conservation all around the world, as well as an extraordinary job educating over a million visitors per year on how they can help as well. WPZ is a perfect example of how a Zoo should be. Its naturalistic exhibits and animal care are the best. Whatever position you work you work in at the Zoo, you still feel like you are a part of something special.
Pros
Seeing exotic animals everyday, behind-the-scenes tours, great work culture.
Cons
Most of the positions are seasonal/temporary.
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Fantastic place to work!
General Admissions (Former Employee) –  Seattle, WAOctober 11, 2015
There is alot of variety in the daily work there, which helps keeps things interesting. The crew is amazing and the management truly listens and takes action in a timely fashion.
It is ridiculously fun to make the day of the zoo guests a bit more fun and education. The hardest part was that it was just a temporary position.
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So much potential... wasted
No longer exists (Former Employee) –  Seattle, WAOctober 9, 2015
This review is about the animal management side, not operations.

WPZ used to be a leader in the zoo world for advancements in animal welfare (first to implement naturalistic enclosures) and technology (their website is zoo.org after all). Unfortunately, it's been riding on that reputation for the last 30 years without much continued progress.

The wages are unusually high for the industry, which leads to increased job loyalty and a very experienced and knowledgeable staff, which is great in many ways. This also means that new positions are rarely available, change or progress is extremely difficult, and money is always tight.

There is a huge emphasis on cutting spending. Staff are expected to do the work of 2 people in half the time. If you go overtime because unexpected things happen, you're scolded for not being more efficient. Those that are naturally more efficient are promoted to positions that do the work of 3 or 4 people so that other positions can be cut - leading to burn out, possible injury, or inevitable failure (which is scapegoated on the individual employee, not poor management). There is a huge lack of trust, respect, and general professionalism on almost all levels.

All this is exacerbated by the current (2015) changeover of CEOs and the new "interim" CEO wanting to show off at the expense of staff safety, business growth, and animal welfare. I sincerely hope they get a new CEO in there who actually cares about animal welfare, the advancement of zoos and conservation science, and the professional growth and safety of the staff.
Pros
Union positions equal good wages, Great environment for animal lovers and conservation enthusiasts, Front line staff care deeply about their animals and/or roles
Cons
Very difficult to get a benefitted position, Management is powerless and panicky, Business infrastructure is dated and updates are slow and difficult to implement
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Everyday is different!
Event (Former Employee) –  SeattleSeptember 8, 2015
Working in events is very fast paced, exciting, and team building experience. It's really great to see all of your team's hardwork pay off after a great event
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Get to know your coworkers
Seasonal Admissions Associate (Former Employee) –  Seattle, WAJuly 2, 2015
Although I wasn't there for long, I had a lot of fun with my coworkers. The job itself was probably the easiest as people just want to get their ticket and get inside, but the only annoyance was working in the lot.
I got forgotten one night in the North lot and was lucky I ran into Scott. My phone, wallet, and keys were inside. I was pretty upset.

Overall, great place to work. Management is supportive and the guests aren't too bad.
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Awesome retail experience here:
SALES LEAD (Current Employee) –  Seattle, WAJune 16, 2015
Everyone is close, we are like family here. There are always minor setbacks to working in retail but it's a fun and enjoyable job to have.
Pros
Free admission to the zoo.
Cons
Poor pay/compensation for employees
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fun place to work at.
Cart Runner (Former Employee) –  Seattle, WAJune 10, 2015
it was fun working at the zoo. they give you probably to much responsibility but you learn to handle that really fast. made a lot with tips for zoo tunes and had a blast as well. would go back and work for them if asked.
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great place to work
Carpenter (Former Employee) –  seattleApril 9, 2015
Great place to work. Great people working their best to fulfill the mission. Management wasn't bossy or authoritarian, but respectful and helpful. Lots of collaboration - across trades and ranks.
Pros
get to go to the zoo every day!
Cons
Animal waste (zoo poo), chronically underfunded (city, county, ...)
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Overall rating

4.3
Based on 32 reviews
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Ratings by category

Work/Life Balance
4.3
Compensation/Benefits
3.4
Job Security/Advancement
3.5
Management
4.0
Culture
4.4

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