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Rocky Shores & Arctic Tundra

At Rocky Shores you can explore a far Northwest world where land and ocean meet; where seabirds nest, sea lions dive, seals splash and otters play.

At Arctic Tundra we’ve created a habitat just like the grassy tundra near Point Hope, Alaska – and filled it with massive muskoxen.

The Arctic fox habitat is currently closed for improvements and is slated to reopen this Summer. Thanks for your patience!

Discover Rocky Shores & Arctic Tundra

Meet our Keepers
Getting wet is part of the job.
Did you know that otters sleep wrapped up in kelp? That seals can waddle on land as well as swim? Our keepers give chats every day.
Daily Presentations
Find it
in the zoo
Follow the arrows past the Pacific Seas Aquarium to find the winding path to Rocky Shores and then continue on to visit the Arctic Tundra.
Plan your day

Meet Our Animals

California sea lion
Sea otter
Harbor seal
Puffin - Temporarily Off-Exhibit
Penguin - Temporarily Off-Exhibit
Muskox
Otterly playful
Anything will do.
Sekiu loves any kind of plaything. Libby's favorite is a rectangular item from a kid's playhouse.
But both of them love the large purple boomer ball - or just snuggling with each other.
Preening with penguins
All in a day's work.
On a sunny day staff biologist Amanda Shaffer sat in the penguin habitat with a penguin gently pecking her.
While Shaffer scratched the penguin's back, the penguin preened her in return, enjoying the company while other penguins were sitting on eggs.

Protecting Marine Animals

Don't mess with our ocean.

THE THREAT: All marine animals and birds are at risk from ocean threats. Plastic trash chokes and starves; oil spills kill; and overfishing and climate change reduce food.

TAKE ACTION: We can all help protect our oceans by reducing our use of plastic. Bring a reusable water bottle to the Zoo. Skip the straw. Pack lunch sustainably. And tell your friends.

Shore Stories

Penguin Nesting Season

It’s penguin nesting season at the Zoo! As of late April, keepers had observed three eggs laid from penguin pairs Yellow & Orange (1 egg) and Pink & Red (2 … Continued

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Pufflings Are Here!

On a rainy, late-summer morning in Tacoma, keeper Cindy is watching the puffins. She’s drenched, but that’s just part of the job she loves. The “unglamorous” part of keeper life … Continued

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Celebrating Sea Otters

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is home to three sea otters in the Rocky Shores habitat. Every September, one week is dedicated to bringing awareness to sea otters. Sea otters … Continued

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Wild Zoo Tour
Grab your phone or camera and embark on a memorable, one-of-a-kind zoo tour. Visit selected areas of the zoo and experience animals in the early morning with a knowledgeable guide… and without the crowds. This unique experience culminates with a special animal encounter at the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater.