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South Pacific Aquarium

Dive In

Fifteen 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.)

Discover the South Pacific

Keeper Chats
And feeds.
At 11 a.m. almost every day, someone’s getting fed in this aquarium! Watch sharks get wild, see tropical fish whirl and stingrays flutter.
See daily schedule
Find it
in the zoo.
Just downhill and to the right from the central plaza, the South Pacific Aquarium has two entrances: Upper (near Asia Forest Sanctuary) and lower (near budgies). No strollers, please.
Plan your day

Aquarium Habitats

Outer Reef
Lagoon
Stingray Cove
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

Halloween in the Aquarium

Just when you thought it was safe to go into the zoo, we bring you – Halloween in the Aquarium! Arms covered with suckers. Backs covered with eyes. Lumpsuckers, tentacles, vacuum mouths and just plain scary faces. (Plus a white crab nicknamed “Casper.”) If you’re looking for weird, cool or slightly icky, our Pacific Seas … Continued

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Sculpting Sand Species

UPDATE: Now over. Thanks for visiting! Q: Where in the world would you find an elephant, a sea turtle and an axolotl all together? A: In Species in the Sand, the new sand sculpture this summer at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium! Beginning mid-May, our sculpting team led by Tacoma native Sue McGrew will return … Continued

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X-ray Vision, Underwater

It’s magical enough to stand inside the Pacific Seas Aquarium and gaze at shimmering scales, cruising sea turtles or impossibly long wolf eels. But with x-ray vision, a whole new underwater world reveals itself. Thanks to our veterinary team, who regularly take radiographs of our Pacific Seas Aquarium animals to check on their health and … Continued

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Dive with Sharks
Get a truly sharks’-eye view of our aquarium with the Eye-to-Eye Shark Dive. Immerse yourself in the world of our sharks – graceful, majestic. It'll change the way you see these breathtakingly beautiful predators.