Plants at the Zoo

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is a great place to come and see endangered animals, but it is also a wonderful site for viewing and smelling an amazing array of plants from around the world. Take a walk around the zoo and appreciate the thought and care put into these beautiful and diverse landscapes.

Learn more during a Garden Tour, the first Sunday of every month!

plant fern circle

Front Gate

Around the front entrance of the zoo, the landscape beds feature a high percentage of Pacific Northwest native plants as well as plants that are adapted to low water use, are deer resistant, and require minimal long-term maintenance.
plant pollinator circle

Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater

Upon entrance to the zoo and along the pathways down to the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater the landscape beds feature an eclectic collection of garden worthy plants from around the world. These plants require minimal care but are amazing for their structure, flowers, leaves, stems, and smells, as well as their ability to be incorporated into landscapes for attracting wildlife.
plant circle century plant

Kids' Zone

Entering the Kids’ Zone Exhibit, the landscape beds and exhibits feature an emphasis on Southern Hemisphere plants as well as xeric plants, or plants that need little water. Kids’ Zone plants include the spectacular flowering Tower of Jewels, many glaucous colored plants with a grayish, bluish or whitish waxy coating, and some of the plant kingdom's most spiny citizens!
 plant bamboo circle

Asian Forest Sanctuary

The Asian Forest Sanctuary features Asian plants as well as tropical looking plants from other parts of the world. Asian Forest Sanctuary plants include the gigantic leaved Chilean Rhubarb, many colorful leaved plants, and an ever-changing assortment of flowering perennials. In addition, there are over 45 types of temperate bamboos with stems of various colors like yellow, black, and green with stripes; see how many types you can spot!
 plant circle pitcher plant

Red Wolf Woods

The Red Wolf Woods exhibit features plants from the South-East United States, the native home of red wolves. Stroll along the meandering path surrounded by perennials, shrubs, and trees which explode into color at various times of year. Look for dinner plate sized flowering hibiscus ‘Kopper King’, the amazing geometrically shaped Maypop flower, and the beautiful flowers and bark of crape myrtles.
 plant circle tundra grass

Arctic Tundra

Upon entering the Arctic Tundra Exhibit, you may think this area of the zoo was forgotten in our planning because it looks so natural. But in fact, the Arctic Tundra Exhibit landscaping is based on the landscape around Point Hope, Alaska. Here grass dominates the landscape; shrubs and trees are scattered and dwarfed in size.