About Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (PDZA) is the only combined zoo and aquarium in the Pacific Northwest. The 29-acre zoological park is the No. 2 tourist destination in Pierce County, second only to Mount Rainier, and attracts over 700,000 visitors a year.

The Zoo sits within 700-acre Point Defiance Park, offering spectacular views of Mount Rainier, the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. PDZA is operated by the Tacoma Metropolitan Park District.

our Mission

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium practices and promotes effective conservation on behalf of the world’s wildlife.

our Vision

We envision a world where people and wildlife share the Earth in harmony.

our Values

In living out the Mission and Vision of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, we value: 

  • The Living Collection: We are committed to providing the highest level of care to the wildlife ambassadors entrusted to us.
  • Learning: We connect people to nature through unique educational experiences that engage their minds, touch their hearts and move them to embrace responsible stewardship. 
  • Conservation: We support and participate in initiatives that protect and save wildlife and wild places.
  • Science: We actively seek knowledge about wildlife and human behaviors that strengthens all aspects of our organization and mission.
  • Sustainability: We are stewards of the Earth by actively conserving resources and minimizing our ecological footprint.
  • Community: We aspire to enrich the lives of the people in our community.
  • Financial Stability: We manage our resources in ways that inspire trust and demonstrate accountability to the community.
  • Innovation: We embrace a creative and entrepreneurial approach to exhibitry, programming, conservation and customer service.
  • Staff: We are committed to the continuous development of our skilled and professional family of employees.
  • Active Living: We connect people with nature by providing unique, healthy recreational experiences.
  • Fun: We provide joyful and entertaining experiences in a stunningly beautiful outdoor setting.

Metro Parks Tacoma

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is a facility of Metro Parks Tacoma, an independent government agency creating healthy opportunities to play, learn and grow since 1907. A five-member Board of Park Commissioners governs Metro Parks Tacoma and is the policy determining body for the park district. View the current Board of Park Commissioners

The Zoo Society
The Zoo Society fosters the relationship between Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and our community by raising funds and generating community support.

The Zoo Society supports the mission of PDZA by providing financial and in-kind resources for the Zoo's recreation, education and conservation programs, its animal collections, and its permanent and temporary exhibitions.

Zoo/Trek Authority
The Zoo/Trek Authority was established in 2001 to oversee disbursement of sales tax revenue to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park.  In 2000, Pierce County voters approved a one-tenth-of-a-cent increase in the local sales tax rate to support the Zoo, Northwest Trek and parks.

ZTA Report to the Community (PDF)