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Service Animal Guidance

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium welcomes guests with disabilities who use service animals as determined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Washington Administrative Code.

Thank you for your cooperation as we strive to provide a safe and positive experience for you, your service animal, and our resident animals.

Admission Procedures

Guests using service animals are required to check-in at the admission window where you’ll be provided with information to plan your visit to our facilities.

  • Staff will confirm that the service animal is on leash or capable of being controlled verbally, by hand motions or other means.
  • A Zoo wide radio call will be made to alert all staff that a service animal is coming on grounds and provide a quick description of the animal.
  • Staff will give the animal’s handler a sticker to wear while on grounds to signify that they have checked in and received the guidelines.
  • Staff will collect contact information for the service animal handler.

For our guests requiring the use of a service animal, please be aware of the unique setting of bringing a service animal where undomesticated live animals are cared for. Some animals by instinct can react to dogs or any animal outside of their habitat as a threat and react strongly to their presence.

Guest Responsibilities

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal must be leashed and under a guest’s control at all times. If using a leash or similar tether interferes with the service animal’s duties AND the service animal is trained to respond to signals, voice commands or another effective means while off leash, then (and only then) they are allowed to be off leash.

Service Animals are working animals, not pets.

Pets, therapy or emotional-support animals are not permitted. The animal must be fully trained; animals in-training will not be permitted.

Other Important Information

Definition of a Service Animal
Can a Person with a Service Animal be Asked to Leave?