Garden Tours

10 am; first Sunday of every month
Tours meet at Pacific Rim Plaza (just inside Zoo front gate)

Animals aren’t the only residents of the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. The zoo is also home to hundreds of varieties of plants which serve a number of purposes, from decorative to functional. Zookeepers use some of the plant growth, such as banana leaves and bamboo shoots, as food or skill-building tools for the animals. The plants also create a stunning botanical paradise.

Join our Zoo Horticulturist on in-depth tours of bryon with plantsthe plants in the Zoo collection to learn about fascinating connections between plants, animals, and people.

Garden Tours take place at 10 am on the first Sunday of every month. To join the tour, meet at the Pacific Rim Plaza just inside the Zoo's front gate. Tours are FREE with admission or membership.

plant circle mahonia

January 1:
Winter Gardening

Not all plants bloom during summer months. Learn about plants that do well in winter and how to prepare your garden for spring.


plant monkey tree circle


February 5:
Vanishing Flora

Plants drive the planet's ecosystems and make animal life possible - but some plant species are in trouble, just like endangered animals. Learn about endangered and rare plants on Zoo grounds.


plant circle century plant

March 5:
Plant Journeys

Where do garden plants come from? All over the world! Learn about the origins and long journeys of many exotic plant species around the Zoo.



plant circle oak

April 2:
Urban Giants

Focus on trees, big and small! Trees are widely revered for a reason: they shape the landscape as we know it. They provide shade and shelter, purify air and water, and double as homes for small animals.



plant circle toad lily

May 7:
Plant Charades

Toad lily, bear's breech, tiger bamboo, lobster claw, and more - what do these all have in common? Learn about plants with animal names and how they got these unique names.



plant pollinator circle  

June 4:
Grow Wild - Attracting Backyard Wildlife

Find out how to attract butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and other animals to your garden. The Zoo's new Pollinator Garden, located in the Contact Junction area of Kids' Zone, features a stunning collection of flowering plants.

Build your own Pollinator Garden >

plant circle cardoon thistle  

July 2:
Plants Gone Wild - A Jungle Paradise

Take a tour of vibrant, leafy plants that evoke a sense of being in the jungle or a tropical paradise. Plants with big leaves, unusual forms, and colorful characteristics will steal the show.



plant circle manzanita  

August 6:
The Un-Thirsty Garden - Drought-Proof Your Landscape

Explore plants that have adapted to dry landscapes and learn how they tolerate low-water environments - and how they might fit into your garden at home, helping you save water.


plant circle banana  

September 3:
Leafy and Fruity Hors d'Oeuvres

Learn about plants that zoo animals eat or play with. As part of our mission to reduce, reuse, and recycle, the Zoo repurposes many plant parts as healthy snacks or fun enrichments for animals instead of throwing them away.



plant circle pitcher plant  

October 1:
Savage Garden

Thorns, spikes, and zig-zagging stems - oh my! Find all the eerie plant species around the Zoo and learn about interesting features that make some plants look like something you might find outside a haunted house.


plant fern circle  

November 6:
Living Fossils

Ferns are iconic in the Pacific Northwest. Did you know that these plants are ancient - dating back to prehistoric times when dinosaurs roamed the earth? Learn about ferns and other "living fossils."



plant bamboo circle  

December 4:
Create Your Own Paradise With Bamboos

The Asian Forest Sanctuary is home to many varieties of bamboo. The stems and leaves of bamboo are not only elegant as decoration, but highly useful when recycled as enrichment materials for animals.