Woodland Park Zoo Reviews

Updated April 4, 2014
Updated April 4, 2014
13 Reviews

3.0
13 Reviews
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Recommend to a friend
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Deborah B. Jensen
3 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Wonderful environment, awesome people.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    Current Employee - Events  in  Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Events in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Woodland Park Zoo part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    -Opportunity to work with amazing and passionate people
    -Everything you do is helping the mission; animal education and conservation
    -Learn a lot about client-satisfaction
    -Animal perks

    Cons

    -Depending on who your event lead is, sometimes don't get detailed enough production schedule

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    So much potential

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Woodland Park Zoo full-time

    Pros

    I've made many great friends working at the zoo, and I love enjoying the atmosphere of Woodland Park Zoo. There are not many work environments as exciting as a zoo. I feel our benefits are comfortable, but pay is limited. Most office-based work at the zoo offers a good work/life balance.

    Cons

    Pay is limited, and promotions are few and far between. The potential for growth is often cut short because of budget limitations, which also includes limitations to our working quarters, software/technology, career development opportunities, and company culture. Working environments don't allow for much privacy to work productively. Many employees have long histories at the zoo. Because of this, many systems, approaches and practices are outdated. There seems to be a lack of interest in innovation or a willingness to test new ideas. The zoo is very comfortable with where it's at, and I feel it doesn't challenge itself to push beyond that limit. This can be very frustrating for zoo employees. I feel that many employees don't feel management finds them to be valuable to the zoo, which I think creates a poor company culture and many distant relationships.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Adding new team members and hiring outside talent offers growth, opportunity and great energy to an organization, take time to hear their ideas and leverage their experience! The zoo has remained stagnant in so many areas for far too long, yet it has so much potential to be the very best nonprofit zoo in the industry! Innovation is rarely encouraged or rewarded, which is leading to increasingly high turn over. Allow us the opportunity to share our insights, no matter our roles or ranks. We'll never progress without welcoming new ideas, new talent and taking risks.

    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    One of the highest paid zookeeper positions in the nation

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Woodland Park Zoo

    Pros

    Excellant pay compared to national zookeeper average pay. Very large zoo with a large collection of animals.

    Cons

    Since it is one of the highest paid zoos, keeper RARELY leave, which can lead to a stale, jaded keeper environment. Your very isolated in your unit, not much of a team feeling to this facility

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Embrace the new training techniques and attitudes in the zoological industry. Work to entertain as well as inspire. No one is inspired when bored by natural history

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Mission vs. Moral

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Woodland Park Zoo full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    A great mission to work toward and there are learning and volunteer opportunities that can make you feel involved if you take advantage. Most of the staff is down to earth and friendly. It;s a good workplace for making friends. Beautiful grounds and a casual work environment The animals are the highlight (some of who become your friends); they are what reminds you why you're there.

    Cons

    Raises are less than cost of living in most cases, which doesn't really motivate you to want to work hard. Any extra money seems to be sucked up by consultants and hiring more executives. Most departments don't seem to have much room for advancement. Folks that are promoted are usually the result of predecessors running for the hills. A LOT of rules and policies don't seem to apply to management; the average employee definitely doesn't get any special favors or treatment. Executive management is out of touch with lower-level staff, who are regularly underestimated and micro-managed. Management can't make a decision and gets caught up in details and red tape, so it takes forever to make anything happen (i.e. changes, projects, improvements) and then you have to rush at double speed to accomplish your goal once approved. Employee recognition and appreciation are non-existent. There's something wrong when a "conservation organization"'s Conservation staff are outnumbered by Development staff three to one. WPZ claims to be a world-class zoo, and may be so in regard to animals/exhibits and customer experience, but everything behind the scenes seems to be a mess. Be warned: working here might be frustrating unless you plan to be a short-timer or you REALLY care about the mission; it's the only thing that will pull you through a lot of other BS.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make more of an investment in your employees. They are who run the zoo. If you put them on the same priority level as the animals, you might not have so much turnover.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    It was OK

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Woodland Park Zoo full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Hang out with animals on your break. Nice people to work with.

    Cons

    So much micro-managing. Not much chance for movement.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Trust your employees to do their job and don't treat them like children.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Short due to boss

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Staff  in  Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Staff in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Woodland Park Zoo full-time

    Pros

    Park environment is relaxing, and is right there to walk around (free admission for employees). Fenced parking lot.

    Cons

    The expectations/work was way more than what I was paid, and more kept being added beyond what I was told in the interview. Further, I found out after hire that the incumbent, who was let go, made 20% more that I was initially offered. There never was any concern for the volume of work nor interest in managing the employee (how I was doing), just dump. There was one restroom - like a home's 1/2 bathroom - per portable building, except one, making planning in this area critical, often involving going out in the elements.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Do a competitive market survey. Manage your people. Meet the employees, I never met the senior management.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    It could be so much better

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Woodland Park Zoo

    Pros

    The people, working for a mission-based organization that support convervation. It's an amazing facility and having access to the animals and opportunities to learn about them is fantastic.

    Cons

    Leadership needs work. A lot of it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop micromanaging your employees. If you hire smart people, let them do their jobs without interference. Spend more money on marketing and getting the word out about what the zoo does and what we offer. Pay people fairly.

  9.  

    Admirable mission

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Woodland Park Zoo

    Pros

    Lovely setting, wonderful animals,sense of feeling like your efforts are making a difference in the world.

    Cons

    poor leadership at executive/senior level. shortsidedness in operational functions
    reality disconnect between represented and nonrepresented pay and lack of respect for experience and loyalty

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    employee morale conitues to sink due to misappropriated resources and priorities
    management does not seem to be actively pursuing alternative avenues of rewarding employees and making them feel appreciated for their efforts.
    non-existing efforts to retain talent

  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    It's great to work for a cause you believe in, but non-profits have their own issues.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Woodland Park Zoo

    Pros

    You wake up feeling like you're making a difference in the world. There's nothing that can compare to that feeling.

    Cons

    There's very little room for promotion, raises seem to not exist, and management knows there's 20 in line behind you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Appreciate your employees. Knowing the inner working of a specific job is way more valuable than you can pay for.

  11.  

    If you like the zoo, it is a good summer job

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Education Department, Seasonal Worker  in  Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Education Department, Seasonal Worker in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Woodland Park Zoo

    Pros

    You get to work at a pretty cool place, with a casual culture (hair dye and tatts accepted, etc). Easy access by several major bus routes. Also, you get into the zoo for free.

    Cons

    A lot of jobs are outdoors, which can be a drag on rainy days (when there is also little to do since there are so few visitors). If you drive, parking can be difficult during the summer (I took the bus, but this is what the HR people told me). And of course, it's not a good place to work if you don't like children.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Thanks for the employee picnic!

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