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Arctic Tundra

Gaze in Awe

Where else in the Northwest can you come nose-to-nose with a polar bear? We’ve created a habitat just like the grassy tundra near Point Hope, Alaska – and filled it with massive muskoxen, fluffy Arctic fox and powerful polar bears.

Discover the Tundra

Meet the Keepers
It's wild work.
Q: How do you care for a polar bear?
A: Beary, beary carefully. Our keepers love our bears, but caring for a large predator takes a lot of skill. Meet our polar bear keepers every day at 11:30am.
See schedule
Find it
in the zoo.
You can reach Arctic Tundra either by walking through Red Wolf Woods or strolling Rocky Shores. It’s a circle loop that brings you back in front of the Pacific Seas Aquarium.
Plan your day

Meet Our Animals

Polar bear
Muskox
Arctic fox

Protecting Polar bears

The ice is melting.

THE THREAT: Polar bears need sea ice to find their main food – seals. Without it, they either swim to exhaustion or stay on land, too close to humans. But because of climate change, the Arctic sea ice is melting.

TAKE ACTION: It’s not too late. Save sea ice for polar bears by driving less, avoiding idling, lowering your thermostat, using LED bulbs, eating local and minimizing consumption. Together we can do it!

Tundra Stories

Closed but Still Caring

We may be closed due to recent restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), but our keepers and veterinary team are still at the zoo every day caring for our animals. From enrichments to treats, check-ups to scratch-downs, here’s how we’re #closedbutstillcaring. Click on any image to start the slideshow. Mouse over to see … Continued

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Being Boris

Caring for the World’s Oldest Male Polar Bear  As Boris splashed in the pool, it was as if age didn’t matter. Paw-slamming a brown ball, pushing around a blue trash can and play-wrestling with his younger buddy Blizzard, the 34-year-old polar bear swam and flipped like a youngster. Then he hauled himself out, shook out … Continued

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Animal couples at the zoo

TACOMA, Wash.–Love is in the air at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium! In honor of Valentine’s Day, visitors will have a chance to celebrate the zoo’s animal couples on February 15 and 16. There’s no concrete way to measure an animal’s love but many of the animals at the zoo are coupled up, or longtime … Continued

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Support Polar Bears
Want to help polar bear research? The Zoo's Dr. Holly Reed Conservation Fund helps support Polar Bears International as they tag and track bears in the Arctic to tell the story of the challenges they face. You can help.