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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

Polar Bear Skype

It looked like a regular school assembly – until they brought out the polar bear skull. On a gray November afternoon, the kids at Arlington Elementary School in Tacoma’s south end filed into the gym. Excited voices rose and fell as staff from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium connected technology on the stage. Then a … Continued

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Getting Sandy for Polar Bears

It took three staff members, six adult volunteers, three youth Zoo Guides and four classes of high schoolers to shovel sand for polar bears – but it was worth it. On a late spring day, Boris and Blizzard, the polar bears at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, shifted to their inside dens for the day … Continued

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Dyed-hair polar bear

It’s Thursday, and Blizzard is waiting to get his hair dyed. Standing in the training area behind Arctic Tundra at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, the massive polar bear looks expectantly up at staff biologist Cindy Roberts. One of the bear’s keepers, she’s holding a big bucket that smells appetizingly of raw meat, fish and … 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.