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Outer Reef

Swim Into the depths

Sharks may look ferocious – but you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a shark. And our sand tiger shark, with all those teeth? He’s harmless – he just can’t close his mouth all the way.

Discover the Reef

Shark Feed
It's a Frenzy.
Watch the frenzy – and careful choreography – as our 16 sharks get fed! 11 am Tues. and Sat. On Thurs-Sun, watch for visitors doing the Eye to Eye Shark Dive...
See daily schedule
Find it
at the Zoo
Our 240,000-gallon Outer Reef habitat mimics the real-life edge of a reef, where shallow protected waters meet the open ocean. Find it deep inside the South Pacific Aquarium, to the right of the central grassy lawn. NOTE: No strollers, please.

Meet our sharks

Nurse Shark
Sandbar shark
Blacktip reef shark
Japanese wobbegong
Sand tiger shark
Crevalle Jack

Protecting Sharks

Stop the finning.

THE THREAT: Sharks are beautiful creatures who keep our oceans in balance. But every year, millions fall victim to the horrific practice of finning, where a shark’s fins are cut off for human use and the shark thrown back into the ocean to die.

HOW TO HELP: Tell your friends how awesome sharks are. Never buy shark fin soup, pills or shark souvenirs. Use the Seafood Watch app to support sustainable fishing, and tell your representatives in Congress that you want shark protection laws.

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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Diving with Sharks
Imagine immersing yourself in the warm waters of the Outer Reef with 16 sharks…That’s the experience of an Eye to Eye Shark Dive – unforgettable.