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South Pacific Aquarium

Temporarily closed

To keep everyone safe.

Massive sharks. A blue hole with divers’-eye-view. Cage dives. A tropical lagoon, a stingray cove. The South Pacific Aquarium is an oasis of warm-water marine beauty, with vibrant fish, inspiring sharks and touchable stingrays. Dive in.

(NOTE: We also have a new Pacific Seas Aquarium, home to turtles and eagle rays.)

NOTE: Both aquariums are temporarily closed due to current Covid-19 restrictions. Eye-to-Eye Shark Dives continue with new safety protocols.

Discover the South Pacific

Find it
in the zoo.
Follow the one-way arrows from the entry plaza down to the top entrance.
Safe aquariums
Know before you go.
We want to keep everyone safe and healthy in our aquariums!
  • Everyone over 5 needs a face covering.
  • Follow the one-way arrows.
  • Keep that 6-ft social distance!
  • Please don't touch the windows.
  • Keep your stroller with you.
  • Learn more

    Aquarium Habitats

    Outer Reef
    Lagoon
    Stingray Cove - TEMPORARILY CLOSED
    Feeding sharks
    (Carefully.)
    Feeding time in the Outer Reef is a complex dance. Above the surface are half-a-dozen aquarists, each with a different kind of feeding pole and fish.
    The cheeky crevalle jack are distracted while the nurse sharks get just the right amount. Finally, everyone’s happy.
    Cleaning
    underwater.
    How do you clean a shark tank? You get trained divers on your team and set them to work.
    While one diver watches the sharks around them, the other scrubs windows and rockwork. And aquarium visitors get to watch it all!
    Science
    behind the scenes
    Behind the scenes at the South Pacific Aquarium is a complex network of pipes, filters, temporary habitats and more.
    Water is pumped up from Puget Sound, filtered and warmed, then treated again after it leaves the aquarium so it’s clean for the local environment.

    Protecting The Ocean

    It takes everyone.

    THE THREAT: Ocean animals are in danger – from humans. Our plastic chokes and starves them. Our oil spills engulf them. Our boats and nets shrink their populations. And our carbon dioxide is warming their world.

    TAKE ACTION: Choose reusable items over single-use plastic. Drive less, recycle more. Pick up pet poop and avoid pesticides. Eat sustainable seafood. And speak up. Together we can protect the ocean.

    Aquarium Stories

    New Animal Experiences Available

    Visit the Zoo before the crowds arrive, feed an unusual hero, groom a goat, dive with sharks or go behind-the-scenes of the Pacific Seas Aquarium. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is expanding its Zoo for You exclusive animal experiences with two new premier adventures. In addition to grooming goats, diving with sharks and a behind-the-scenes … Continued

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    Rockfish Recompression

    Aquarist John Foster cradled the vermilion rockfish gently in two hands, submersed. Anesthetized, it lay still as veterinarian Dr. Kadie Anderson took a quick documentary photo of its eyes, which bulged to each side. Then Foster lowered the fish – now fully awake – into a water-filled container that looked something like sci-fi author Jules … Continued

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    So You Think You Know Shark Teeth?

    Everyone knows shark teeth, right? Those big slathering daggers in scary movies? Uh, no. At least, there’s a lot more to shark teeth than the pop culture stereotypes. Some sharks are enormous – but have the tiniest teeth! Many sharks have different teeth in front compared to the back of their mouths, depending on what … Continued

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    Go Deeper
    Looking for a deeper animal connection? Dive into our Eye-to-Eye Shark Dives and float in the same world as our massive sharks!