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South Pacific Aquarium

Dive In

Sixteen 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 16 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. One aquarist angles a long pole down to the wobbegong. 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: Stop using straws, bottles and other 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

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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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.