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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 a powerful polar bear.

SAD NEWS: Our elderly and beloved polar bear Boris was humanely euthanized Sept. 1 after declining health. We’ll miss you so much, Boris. Read the story for more details.

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 bear, but caring for a large predator takes a lot of skill. Our keepers give unscheduled chats daily, so keep a look out!
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

Farewell, Boris

TACOMA, Wash. – Boris, an elderly polar bear believed to be the oldest male of his species on the planet, was humanely euthanized at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium on Sept. 1 following a significant decline in his health. He was 34, a one-time circus bear who found a stable home in Tacoma, where he … Continued

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National Zookeeper Week

National Zookeeper Week takes place July 19-25 this year. The week is devoted to sharing the passion and dedication of keepers. Even though Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium was temporarily closed to the public to slow the spread of COVID-19, the keepers never took a pause. They are a dedicated group of people who work … Continued

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Splish, splash! Zoo animals that beat the heat

We all love summer in the Pacific Northwest, but there’s no doubt that some days get pretty hot. Humans are pretty creative in finding ways to beat the heat – splashing, shade, cool clothes – and our Zoo animals do it too! Muskox Muskoxen are adapted for living above the Arctic Circle and nibbling for … 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.