New Pacific Seas Aquarium Opening Summer 2018

Imagine standing in a tunnel of water with hammerhead sharks swimming above your head and sea turtles gliding in front of you.

That's just part of the plan for the new Pacific Seas Aquarium at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, which is slated to open in summer 2018.

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The new state-of-the-art aquarium will host many of the same exhibits from the North Pacific Aquarium, including the Puget Sound native species and Jammin' with Jellies.

New exhibits will include:
  • Baja Bay:  A 250,000-gallon warm-water exhibit, which will be home to scalloped hammerhead sharks, green sea turtles and spotted eagle rays
  • Northwest Waters:  A 75,000-gallon exhibit highlighting Pacific Northwest marine life 
  • Coastal Kelp Forest: A tank featuring giant strands of kelp similar to the kelp forests found off the coast of Southern California
  • Tidal Touch Zone:  An engaging space offering hands-on and up-close experiences for people of all ages

PDZA_Baja Bay update_160512The new aquarium will continue a long-standing tradition of highlighting Puget Sound marine life while showcasing some exciting new species.

The 35,000 square-foot building will be built between Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater and the Rocky Shores exhibit area.

This project, along with other Zoo Capital Projects, is made possible by voters’ approval in 2014 of a $198 million Metro Parks Tacoma bond issue, with more than $65 million earmarked for capital improvements at the Zoo.

The South Pacific Aquarium, home to 16 sharks and Stingray Cove, will remain in its current location.

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Learn about other exciting Point Defiance Park projects.

Capital Project Timelines

Environmental Learning Center
Summer 2016: Construction began
Fall 2017: Grand opening

Rocky Shores Exhibit Renovation
Fall 2016: Construction began
Spring 2017: Grand opening

New Aquarium

Summer 2016: Construction began
Summer 2018: Grand opening

Polar Bear Exhibit Renovation
Summer 2018: Construction begins
Summer 2019: Grand opening

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