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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

Sculpting Sand Species

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 to create another incredible sculpture – … 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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Making Turtle Waves

UPDATE: May 1, 2019 We did it! We made 3,600 paper turtles, glueing them onto ten blue silk “waves” to create a cascading spiral of ocean beauty in the Pacific Seas Aquarium. And we raised $10,068 for ocean conservation, thanks to the Ocean Art Challenge sponsored by the Bezos Family Foundation, and all the hundreds … 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.