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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.

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

Animal Athletes

Human athletes might be battling it out for medals at the Olympic Games in Japan this month, but here at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, we have our own incredible athletes to celebrate: our animals! Who can leap the furthest? Climb the highest? Who’s the fastest swimmer, the cleanest diver, the most agile? Check out … Continued

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Students Shovel Sand for Polar Bear

Students from Tacoma School District’s Science and Math Institute (SAMI) recently helped shovel a truckload of sand into Blizzard the polar bear’s habitat. “The sand cools off Blizzard in the hot summer weather and is soft on his feet, too,” said Assistant Curator Sheriden. “Blizzard loves having fresh sand every year and we really appreciate … Continued

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Testing New Tracking Technology

By Emily Ringer, Senior Manager of Communications and Advocacy, Polar Bears International Last week, a tech challenge to invent a better way to track polar bears moved out of the lab and onto the fur of a polar bear at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, one of seven North American zoos participating in the project. … 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.