November 2, 2010
For years, Michelle Ryan could not bear to go outside. She had stationed herself on her living room couch, doing crossword puzzles, watching TV and recovering from a series of medical problems.
Then, a light came into her life in the forms of a paintbrush and the welcoming crew at artEAST, an Issaquah art cooperative.
Ryan’s life has taken her across the country, but she moved to Issaquah in 1990, working as an echo cardiographer, taking ultrasounds of peoples’ hearts. In 1998, her health left her on disability, and she ended up staying indoors for the next four years. Read more
October 22, 2010
NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 22, 2010
Cougar Mountain Zoo is more than $50,000 closer to opening a cheetah exhibit.
The zoo hosted a gala fundraiser last month to raise some of the $100,000 needed to add cheetahs a big cat collection comprised of tigers and a cougar. The masquerade soiree raised $51,800 through ticket sales, auctions and the chance to purchase a photo alongside a 4-year-old female cheetah.
Cougar Mountain Zoo aims to become the first facility in Washington to open a cheetah exhibit.
Zoo leaders announced plans last summer to add a cheetah exhibit and plan to construct and open the habitat by late 2011 or early 2012.
August 31, 2010
Cougar Mountain Zoo has raised all but about $100,000 needed for the Issaquah institution to open a cheetah exhibit, possibly as early as next year.
The zoo has planned a posh Cheetah Masquerade Gala for Sept. 18 to help meet the fundraising goal. Zoo General Curator Robyn Barfoot announced a special treat for attendees at the gala: the chance to have their photo taken next to a cheetah.
Only a lucky handful can get up close to the cheetah — a 4-year-old female named Taini from Wildlife Safari in Winston, Ore. — by bidding for three photo opportunities up for grabs in a silent auction.
Wildlife Safari, a drive-through preserve about 90 minutes south of Eugene, is the only facility in the Pacific Northwest to exhibit cheetahs.
July 27, 2010
Love to dress up in costumes but can’t wait for Halloween? Want to get gussied up for an adults-only soiree? Want to help bring a new, exotic exhibit to the local zoo? Then here’s the event for you.
The Zoological Society of Washington and the Cougar Mountain Zoo present the 2010 Cheetah Masquerade Gala. Zoo Curator Robyn Barfoot said the goal is to raise $100,000 to be the first zoo in Washington to acquire two to three cheetahs and build a state-of-the-art exhibit. Barfoot said she hopes the gala gets them on their way toward that goal.
“Any dollar amount helps us,” she said. “We don’t want everyone to be afraid of that $100,000 number. Just $10 makes a difference.”
April 27, 2010
A tiger’s birthday is a once-a-year delight
It was a sunny, gorgeous day April 11 as the 3-year-old tore into his presents with his teeth and claws and gnawed on a rack of ribs to the delight of more than 100 people.
But this wasn’t your average toddler. This was Taj, Cougar Mountain Zoo’s golden Bengal tiger, one of only 102 left in the world, who turned 3 that day. (In fact, the last golden Bengal that was seen in the wild was spotted in 1932!)
If you weren’t there, you truly missed something special. But never fear, you get a second chance this Sunday, May 2, when Almos, the zoo’s royal white Bengal tiger, one of only 400 left in the world, will celebrate turning 3.
Watching these big cats, who weigh more than 400 pounds, pounce and chase things will turn you into a kid again. Read more
December 8, 2009
Technically, Cougar Mountain Zoo is closed for the winter season. However, when you have a guest whose reputation is built around the holiday season, allowances are made.
Thus, Robyn Barfoot, zoo manager and head elf, is proud to provide the facility of choice for Santa Claus to host his 21st annual Reindeer Festival. As evidenced by the attendance figures, it’s one of the zoo’s best-attended attractions of the year.
“It’s extremely popular. We get 10,000 visitors in the month of December,” Barfoot said. “That’s quite a lot for our zoo. And we have quite a few families who’ve made it a holiday tradition, including one from Wenatchee.” Read more
November 17, 2009
Last week, I decided to drop by Cougar Mountain Zoo to check on Taj and Almos, the elder of our local, rare Bengal tigers. I’ve seen them grow up, like many of you have done.
I knew they were moving into their new, larger, adult habitat at some point. (Taj had been in there for nearly three weeks. Almos, a little shyer about the move, maybe because he heard people talk about the horrors of packing and moving, had entered the enclosure only three days before.) Read more
September 1, 2009
Alex Berry was left with such a lasting impression after being honored in the 2008 artEAST Collective Memory Project, that he decided to return the favor for someone this year.
The Collective Memory project began in 2007 when 18 artEAST artists partnered with local community members — from well known to obscure, quiet to colorful — who helped shape the community. The artists honored these citizens by telling their life stories through original works of art.
Berry, 43, a native of Issaquah, had his story told of working 30 years at Village Theatre as everything from director to set designer, in the form of a sculpture by artist Ashley Weiss.
“It was absolutely fabulous,” he said. “I was so impressed by all the quality of work produced.”
So impressed, he asked to be involved this year as an artist. Karen Abel, executive director of artEAST, paired him with Greg Spranger, the man behind many DownTown Issaquah Association projects.
“I had heard of Greg long before I actually met him,” Berry said. “A couple years ago, he called me and wanted me and my father to come down and paint oversized wooden Christmas ornaments for the Hailstone Feed Store project.” Read more
August 25, 2009
Issaquah’s newest tiger additions have names and are on display for visitors at Cougar Mountain Zoo. Read more
July 14, 2009
Issaquah’s Cougar Mountain Zoological Park is the recipient of two new Bengal tiger cubs.
“We are very happy. We want people to come out and be a part of these two boys’ lives,” said Robyn Barfoot, general curator for Cougar Mountain Zoo. “If it weren’t for our guests, we wouldn’t be able to do this.” Read more