Zoo plans masquerade gala to pay for state’s first cheetah exhibit

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.”

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Off The Press

April 27, 2010

A tiger’s birthday is a once-a-year delight

Kathleen R. Merrill Press editor

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

Santa returns for 21st annual Reindeer Festival

December 8, 2009

Santa Claus feeds apple slices to Olive at the barn attached to Santa’s House during Cougar Mountain Zoo’s Reindeer Festival. The lyrics to ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ include ‘All of (Olive) the other reindeer,’ who used to laugh and call Rudolph names Photos By Greg Farrar

Santa Claus feeds apple slices to Olive at the barn attached to Santa’s House during Cougar Mountain Zoo’s Reindeer Festival. The lyrics to ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ include ‘All of (Olive) the other reindeer,’ who used to laugh and call Rudolph names Photos By Greg Farrar

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

Off The Press

November 17, 2009

Kathleen R. Merrill Press editor

Kathleen R. Merrill Press editor

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

Artists create lasting memories of community icons

September 1, 2009

Artist Ashley Weiss paid tribute to set designer Alex Berry with this sculpture in last year’s Collective Memory project. File

Artist Ashley Weiss paid tribute to set designer Alex Berry with this sculpture in last year’s Collective Memory project. File

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

New Bengal tigers get names, go on display

August 25, 2009

Issaquah’s newest tiger additions have names and are on display for visitors at Cougar Mountain Zoo. Read more

Two new tigers call Issaquah home

July 14, 2009

A standard orange-and-black Bengal tiger cub was one of two recently acquired by the Cougar Mountain Zoo. By Adam Eschbach

A standard orange-and-black Bengal tiger cub was one of two recently acquired by the Cougar Mountain Zoo. By Adam Eschbach

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

Two new tigers call Issaquah home

July 9, 2009

NEW — Noon, July 9, 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. “If it weren’t for our guests, we wouldn’t be able to do this.”

The two cubs, a royal white Bengal, which is 13 pounds, and a standard orange-and-black Bengal, which is 15 pounds, came to the zoo July 2. They are brothers from the same litter, born at an Arizona zoo six weeks ago, Barfoot said.

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Next arrival at Cougar Mountain Zoo could be cheetah

June 9, 2009

A cheetah could be the next addition to Cougar Mountain Zoo’s big cat collection, a zoo administrator said last week. Read more

Zoo’s holiday festival features live reindeer

November 25, 2008

Santa stands on the porch of his home-away-from-North Pole home at Cougar Mountain Zoo, overlooking the reindeer yard. By Greg Farrar Santa stands on the porch of his home-away-from-North Pole home at Cougar Mountain Zoo, overlooking the reindeer yard. By Greg Farrar

Santa’s reindeer look forward to December all year long, and not just Christmas night. The reindeer have been logging extra flying sessions to make sure they are ready for the big night. For the first three weeks in December, they’ll be holding court at the Cougar Mountain Zoo’s 20th annual Reindeer Festival.

“The reindeer do enjoy this time of year, since they get apples every day and they love apples,” said Robyn Barfoot, general curator at the zoo. Read more

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