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Zoo News

Happy New Rat Year!

Whoever first invented the Year of the Rat in the Chinese zodiac probably wasn’t thinking of African giant pouched rats like Chiku, Celine and Mona Lisa. But the coming Asian New Year (Jan. 25) celebrates the rat as a symbol of prosperity – and our three ambassador HeroRATs fit the bill perfectly. MEET OUR RATS: … Continued

Jan 03, 2020

animal care

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Dec 16, 2019

Inspired to give your own pet an enriching treat these holidays? “Enrichments are a big part of caring for an animal,” explains Sara Mattison, staff biologist at the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater and chair of the Enrichment Committee at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. “They give mental and physical stimulation, and encourage natural behaviors that … Continued

Dec 12, 2019

WATCH THEM: We’re giving the meerkats another holiday surprise 11am Sunday Dec. 22 in Kids’ Zone. ’Twas the month before Christmas and inside Kids’ Zone, The meerkats received a surprise of their own; A stocking was hung on the rock wall with care, But the one on the ground was a different affair! The keepers … Continued

Oct 15, 2019

For Veterinary Technician Week 2019, we’re not just celebrating our wonderful vet techs – we’re introducing them! Vet techs assist veterinarians in every aspect of animal health care, and they care deeply about our animals – often in very practical ways. We couldn’t care for our animals without them. Meet Sara Dunleavy, full-time clinical veterinary … Continued

Oct 15, 2019

For Veterinary Technician Week 2019, we’re not just celebrating our wonderful vet techs – we’re introducing them to you! Vet techs assist veterinarians in every aspect of animal health care, and they care deeply about our animals – often in very practical ways. We couldn’t care for animals without them. Meet Julie Lemon, full-time vet … Continued

animals

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Jan 14, 2020

We’re all feeling the cold right about now in the Pacific Northwest – and the rest of the country too. But here at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, our animals have some pretty cool ways to deal with it. From fur coats to heated hammocks, here are five ways our animals beat the winter cold. … Continued

Jan 03, 2020

Whoever first invented the Year of the Rat in the Chinese zodiac probably wasn’t thinking of African giant pouched rats like Chiku, Celine and Mona Lisa. But the coming Asian New Year (Jan. 25) celebrates the rat as a symbol of prosperity – and our three ambassador HeroRATs fit the bill perfectly. MEET OUR RATS: … Continued

Dec 20, 2019

A new year, and a new decade, have everyone- even the animals at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium- making New Year’s reZOOlutions. Which animal’s 2020 resolution do you best identify with? Click any image to start viewing!  

Dec 19, 2019

What would you ask Santa for these holidays if you were a walrus? Or a tiger? Of course we can’t know what our animals are thinking, but we can definitely make some fun guesses based on what they enjoy doing or eating! Here’s a Zoo wish-list for Santa from some of our animals. Let’s hope … Continued

aquarium

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Dec 23, 2019

The white sand glows as you curve with a hammerhead shark through azure waters. Later, you tilt and dive down deep to rescue a green sea turtle from a plastic net – and are repaid with a magical tour through a coral wonderland. Four captivating ocean adventures await you with Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s … Continued

Dec 18, 2019

If the sharks and fish noticed an unusual animal in the South Pacific Aquarium, they didn’t let on. In the steamy aquarium, on a December Tuesday when Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium was closed, two tamanduas were wandering past the Outer Reef, along the lagoon and over to stingray beach. It was Terra and her … Continued

Oct 25, 2019

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

Jun 10, 2019

What kind of shark are you: Relaxed? Intense? Take the quiz and find out! Loading…

May 06, 2019

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

Apr 17, 2019

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

Jan 30, 2019

As part of our Pacific Seas Aquarium Community Celebration this April, we’re filling every Friday with art! Join our talented Pacific Seas Aquarium artists each Friday to meet them, find out how they make things and then make some art of your own! On the final Friday, we join with hundreds of others all around … Continued

Oct 04, 2018

It’s more than just a play of light. Wander down the ramps of the new Pacific Seas Aquarium, and you’ll pass through shimmers of colored light. You’re immersed in their play and flicker, as if swimming through a sunlit lagoon. It’s art – the light installation “Shimmer,” by California artist Gordon Huether – but the … Continued

conservation

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Dec 03, 2019

Glue? Tape? Dye? It’s all part of our mission to help protect polar bears in the wild, with a new scientific study that Zoo guests may soon watch in action. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, with its beloved polar bears Boris and Blizzard, has worked for years with the non-profit Polar Bears International (PBI) to … Continued

Dec 03, 2019

It’s a long way from Tacoma, Washington to Churchill, Manitoba: about 1,420 miles as the crow flies, at least eight hours by plane. There’s no road. In icy isolation on Canada’s Hudson Bay, it’s a world away from the lush, evergreen Puget Sound region. The thing the two towns have in common? Polar bears – … Continued

Nov 07, 2019

It looked like a regular school assembly – until they brought out the polar bear skull. On a gray November afternoon, the kids at Arlington Elementary School in Tacoma’s south end filed into the gym. Excited voices rose and fell as staff from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium connected technology on the stage. Then a … Continued

Oct 23, 2019

Calling all teens to save the ocean! Our ocean is in danger – from plastic, pollution, overfishing and climate change. But thanks to a partnership between Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Seattle Aquarium, local youth can learn and be inspired to help protect it. The Youth Ocean Conservation Summit is a one-day event from … Continued

people

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Jan 13, 2020

Over 1 million guests at Zoo and Northwest Trek They came in waves, breaking records for the second year running to experience the wonders of the state-of-the-art Pacific Seas Aquarium in its first full year of operation at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Visitors by the thousands came to meet sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, eagle … Continued

Jan 08, 2020

For 10-year-old Maya, it was a story come to life. The tall, quiet girl with long brown hair had always loved birds – especially owls – reading many books about them. Now, on a cold December morning, she was standing with her classmates of Arlington Elementary School in front of two real live snowy owls … Continued

Dec 04, 2019

Olympia, Washington native comes from South Sound career of nonprofit “servant leadership.”   For Sarah Oliver, leadership is all about helping people achieve their mission. The Olympia, Washington native with a career in nonprofit leadership is bringing her people-focused expertise to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium as its new deputy director. The position oversees all … Continued

Dec 03, 2019

It’s a long way from Tacoma, Washington to Churchill, Manitoba: about 1,420 miles as the crow flies, at least eight hours by plane. There’s no road. In icy isolation on Canada’s Hudson Bay, it’s a world away from the lush, evergreen Puget Sound region. The thing the two towns have in common? Polar bears – … Continued

plants

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Jan 24, 2020

When animals are endangered, they often make headlines and social media: koalas, elephants, rhinos. But there are hundreds of endangered species that animals depend on every day for food, shelter, clean air, water or the right temperature – plants. Humans also depend on plants for survival. But when they’re endangered, do we think as much … Continued

Oct 23, 2019

They communicate with each other. Send out pheromones when stressed. Adapt their bodies to the environment. Care for their children. Live in community. Breathe. No, we’re not talking animals here, or humans. We’re talking trees – those giants who include the oldest, heaviest and tallest living beings on the planet, and about whom science is … Continued

Sep 25, 2019

Agaves with shark teeth. Trees that poke you. Carnivorous plants. If you think the plant world is all about pretty flowers, it’s time to think again – and time for the Zoo’s annual Savage Garden tour. No, not the band. The actual Zoo garden, which is full of poky, skeletal and otherwise Halloween-themed plants – … Continued

Aug 29, 2019

When you think ‘edible gardening,’ you usually don’t imagine growing banana trees for elephants. But Bryon Jones does. The lead horticulturalist at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has created an entire garden devoted to plants that zoo animals can munch, nibble or chew. It’s usually hidden from public view. But on this Sunday’s free garden … Continued