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animals

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Dec 21, 2021

What a year this has been! Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium provided a home and second chance to a rescued sea lion named Björn, celebrated the births of a Southern three-banded armadillo pup and a Southern tamandua pup, among so many other moments. Thanks for being here on this journey with us. Enjoy our best … Continued

Dec 20, 2021

Blizzard the polar bear celebrated his birthday at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium with all his favorite things: cake, a tree, a big barrel and more than 2,000 pounds of ice. At 26, Blizzard is a senior bear and each birthday is a special one. The median life expectancy for polar bears is about 23 … Continued

Dec 16, 2021

A four-month-old clouded leopard cub named Rakhan (pronounced Rah-kaan) recently arrived at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. The cub joins the zoo on a breeding recommendation through the Species Survival Plan®. “Clouded leopards are highly endangered, and cubs like Rakhan help keep zoo populations healthy and genetically diverse,” said Telena Welsh, the zoo’s curator of Asian … Continued

Dec 07, 2021

PUPDATE Jan. 11: At 1.5 pounds, Segway has more than quadrupled her weight in two months. The growing pup is doing well and continues to be with Vespa behind the scenes. December 7: The one-month-old Southern three-banded armadillo pup at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium now has a name – Segway! “Born to parents Vespa … Continued

aquarium

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Oct 20, 2021

“I love Tippy and Tippy loves me.” Meet Liam Parnell. He’s a sweet boy who really, really loves sharks, especially the blacktip reef shark at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium that he’s nicknamed Tippy. He even sends Valentine’s Day cards to Tippy every year. “I met Tippy when I was 2 and now I’m 12,” … Continued

Oct 20, 2021

More than 21,500 people have come eye-to-eye with the sharks at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in an underwater cage to see nurse, sandbar, blacktip reef, sand tiger and zebra sharks cruise by. Divers from 8 to 90-years-old have learned about what it takes to help sharks in the wild. We asked two of the … Continued

Oct 13, 2021

After 32 hardworking years, the popular South Pacific Aquarium at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium needs some love. On November 15, the aquarium will close for restoration and repair of critical animal-care structures, habitats and life support systems, to reopen in 2023 with exciting new species, upgraded systems and immersive South Pacific-themed art. “This is … Continued

Aug 26, 2021

What better way to go back-to-school than at an aquarium? Here at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, we have two huge aquariums to choose from, with schools of fish to make any Dr. Seuss fan happy! Here’s our version of the familiar classic. Read, then come and meet all the characters in real life, at … Continued

Sep 08, 2021

Just above floor level at the Red Wolf Woods habitat, a young girl crouches low. Open-mouthed in wonder, she slowly runs her fingers over the soft snout of a sleeping red wolf pup. But the pup doesn’t snap – or even stir. It’s “Just Settling In,” a near-life-size sculpture set deliberately within reach of curious … Continued

Jul 22, 2021

Zookeepers and the animals they love What’s the animal you feel most deeply inside? The one you connect with, love, relate to, share traits with? For National Zookeeper Week 2021, we asked our assistant curators that very same question. Then our incredible staff photographer Katie Cotterill took portraits of both keeper AND animal, superimposing them … Continued

May 06, 2019

UPDATE: Now over. Thanks for visiting! Q: Where in the world would you find an elephant, a sea turtle and an axolotl all together? A: In Species in the Sand, the new sand sculpture this summer at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium! Beginning mid-May, our sculpting team led by Tacoma native Sue McGrew will return … Continued

Apr 17, 2019

UPDATE: May 1, 2019 We did it! We made 3,600 paper turtles, glueing them onto ten blue silk “waves” to create a cascading spiral of ocean beauty in the Pacific Seas Aquarium. And we raised $10,068 for ocean conservation, thanks to the Ocean Art Challenge sponsored by the Bezos Family Foundation, and all the hundreds … Continued

Nov 01, 2021

’Twas the month before Christmas and inside Kids’ Zone, The meerkats received a surprise of their own; A stocking was hung on the rock wall with care, But the one on the ground was a different affair! The keepers had filled it with fat mealworm treats – (a favorite food for all meerkats to eat) … Continued

Oct 20, 2021

It’s National Veterinary Technician Week Oct. 17-23, and we’re celebrating our wonderful veterinary technicians with a virtual thank-you card. Keepers, curators and veterinarians all weighed in to thank our superhero vet techs Julie Lemon and Sara Dunleavy for all they do to care for animals and help staff: prepping for procedures, monitoring animal vitals and … Continued

Sep 29, 2021

UPDATE December 2021: Our veterinarians have been working with veterinary oncologists and Blizzard’s care team to provide the best possible care for Blizzard. The senior polar bear is receiving oral chemotherapy and his care team is closely monitoring him. We hope to slow the progression of cancer and keep Blizzard comfortable. September 2021: Blizzard, a … Continued

Jul 19, 2021

What do you do if your 760-pound male muskox refuses to do what you ask him? Well, if you’re a zookeeper, you have other strategies in your pocket. For keeper Piper, who cares for muskoxen, clouded leopards and an elephant at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, it’s all in a day’s work. 7am Piper’s day … Continued

conservation

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Nov 17, 2021

On Friday, November 5, federal, state, tribal and partner biologists released five fishers from Alberta, Canada into the lush, coastal forest near Lake Ozette, the latest event in a nearly two decades-long project to restore the native species to Washington State. Fishers- a member of the mustelid or weasel family roughly the size of a … Continued

Sep 08, 2021

Just above floor level at the Red Wolf Woods habitat, a young girl crouches low. Open-mouthed in wonder, she slowly runs her fingers over the soft snout of a sleeping red wolf pup. But the pup doesn’t snap – or even stir. It’s “Just Settling In,” a near-life-size sculpture set deliberately within reach of curious … Continued

Aug 03, 2021

Clouded leopards are endangered. Their tropical forests are being cut down for logging, human habitat and to grow palm oil, a common food product. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium plays a huge role in the conservation of clouded leopards in the wild. The Zoo is part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) that keeps zoo … Continued

Jul 26, 2021

Faced with the knowledge that only 400 animals of a vital species were left in the whole world, what would you do? Would you help them have more cubs? Try to build up their habitat and prey? Make sure nobody killed them unnecessarily? The answer is all three – and that’s exactly what organizations around … Continued

people

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Jan 19, 2022

Love animals? Care about conservation? Become a volunteer at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and inspire others to make protecting wildlife a priority. The zoo is accepting applications through Feb. 14 for youth volunteers. APPLY HERE. “Applicants should love nature, the environment, and animals and enjoy learning new things and making a difference,” said Volunteer … Continued

Jan 10, 2022

January: it’s wet and cold. But, no worries- there are still plenty of ways to enjoy Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and meet amazing animals! Warm, Indoor Aquarium The Pacific Seas Aquarium is indoors and heated and is open year-round. Guests can see hammerhead sharks, green sea turtles, a giant Pacific octopus and a variety … Continued

Nov 17, 2021

After-school enrichment program takes Tacoma Public Schools students on a Veterans Day field trip to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – despite the rain. Even pouring rain couldn’t dampen the excitement of a Zoo field trip. “We’re going to see an aquarium!!” called one boy. “There might be spiders!” said another, in tones of true … Continued

Oct 20, 2021

“I love Tippy and Tippy loves me.” Meet Liam Parnell. He’s a sweet boy who really, really loves sharks, especially the blacktip reef shark at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium that he’s nicknamed Tippy. He even sends Valentine’s Day cards to Tippy every year. “I met Tippy when I was 2 and now I’m 12,” … Continued

plants

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Sep 21, 2021

Heavy as velvet, a bumblebee bounces over yellow coneflower petals. Next door a golden honeybee dives headfirst into a red salvia blossom to sip. And across the pathway, a hummingbird zips and chitters. The Nature Play Garden at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium might not be ready for human guests yet, but it’s buzzing – … Continued

Sep 13, 2021

It’s one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. It’s used for buildings, dishes, musical instruments. It’s food for animals and people. And there are over 45 types at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. We’re talking bamboo, that leggy, elegant plant known for both lush garden vibes as well as gardener headaches if it gets … Continued

Nov 17, 2020

Missing travel? While the coronavirus pandemic has made global vacations more dream than reality, Puget Sound-area folks have an option right on their doorstep: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, where you can surround yourself with plants and animals from around the Pacific Rim. Tigers in lush Asian bamboo, South American rainforest reptiles, Australian amphibians and … Continued

Jun 22, 2020

Tomatoes. Apples. Almonds. Pumpkin. Coffee. Tea. Chocolate. All pretty important, right? And they all have one thing in common: they need pollinators. Around 1,000 plants that humans use for food, drink, fiber, spices or medicine need to be pollinated by a very special group of animals called pollinators. Bees, butterflies, wasps, moths, hummingbirds, bats and … Continued

zoolights

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Nov 22, 2021

Santa has made his way to Tacoma all the way from the North Pole and has brought his scuba equipment with him. “Santa Under the Sea” is one of two exclusive experiences being offered to the public this holiday season at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Santa Under the Sea Offered at night during Zoolights … Continued

Nov 22, 2021

Festive and bright holiday magic returns with Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium this Friday, Nov. 26 and runs through Jan. 2. The South Sound tradition will boast more lights than ever before, with more than 800,000 lights illuminating the zoo at night. “We are thrilled to continue the longstanding tradition of Zoolights for … Continued

Oct 25, 2021

Get your Zoolights tickets here You can’t set up 800,000 LED lights overnight! It takes time. Months, actually. The Zoolights crew at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium spends all of October and November – rain or shine, prepping for the region’s classic holiday lights extravaganza and creating new displays. It’s a huge team effort, and … Continued

Oct 12, 2021

Get your timed online tickets now for the longest-running light show in the region! Zoolights is back at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Nov. 26-Jan. 2 (closed Dec. 24 & Dec. 25). The holiday tradition boasts more than 800,000 colorful LED lights and dozens of dazzling 3-D animal light displays. Zoo guests will see favorite … Continued