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Tidal Touch Zone

Did you know?

When a sea urchin “hugs” your finger if you gently touch its spines, it’s actually checking you out: Are you food or predator?

If you’re neither, the animal will just gradually release you.

Touch low tide

Explore a new world
with one gentle finger.
The softness of a sea star, dusky pink. The hard shell of an orange crab. The spikiness of a purple urchin, a smooth sea cucumber. Explore a tidal world of beautiful creatures.
See daily schedule
Lots of space
More animals, more elbow room.
The new Tidal Touch Zone is three times bigger than in our old aquarium. There's plenty of elbow room, an immersive ocean space - and a handy bench to rest. Start exploring.
What's on the wall?
Art meets science
Imagination meets science on the touch zone walls. On one, a shimmering watercolor mural of Puget Sound low tide by Tacoma artist Maria Jost. On the other, a giant map connects us to the ocean.
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Meet our animals

Purple sea urchin
Ochre star
Sea cucumber
Blood star
Painted anemone
Giant plumose anemone
Hermit crab

Protect our Sound

It takes everyone.

THE THREAT: Animals in Puget Sound face many human-caused threats, like pollution and overfishing. Chemicals and plastic wash down from our streets.

TAKE ACTION: The solution is in our hands. Reduce single-use plastic and find sustainable fish on the Seafood Watch app. And learn more on one of our Explore the Shore beach walks!

Aquarium Stories

Ocean Voices Speaker Series

Ocean Voices Speaker Series As part of the Pacific Seas Aquarium Community Celebration, every Tuesday evening this April we’re gathering the best local scientists and ocean activists we can find for a dynamic speaker series at venues around Tacoma. Come listen, learn and be inspired to protect our ocean. All events are free.   April … Continued

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Distracting the Octopus

Playing with an octopus isn’t in everyone’s job description. But for aquarium staff Paige Gutierrez and Tai Fripp, it’s all part of caring for Ozzie, the giant Pacific octopus inside the Pacific Seas Aquarium at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Why? Because an octopus is curious – and if an aquarist is cleaning her habitat, … Continued

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Baja Diving

In clear, blue Baja Bay, three scuba divers are drifting alongside eagle rays and brightly-colored fish. They’re moving slowly, and unlike most divers in tropical waters, they’re not gazing admiringly at the animals around them. Because these divers are aquarists at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – and they’re hard at work. “We clean, we … Continued

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Who's Nearby?
Like our Tidal Touch Zone? Then keep wandering down to Baja Bay, just around the corner.