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Zoo News

Lar Gibbon Brothers Arrive at Zoo

“Whoop, Whoooooop, Whoop-whoop!” There’s a new set of sounds heard throughout Point Defiance Park, coming from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. It’s the sound of two young lar gibbons singing loudly in unison. Also known as white-handed gibbons, they are an endangered primate in the gibbon family with around 15,000 currently living in the wild. … Continued

Jan 11, 2021

animals

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Apr 29, 2021

It’s penguin nesting season at the Zoo! As of late April, keepers had observed four eggs laid. The eggs are from two penguin pairs, with two eggs each. Each year, keepers prepare Penguin Point for nesting season, adding long grasses for the Magellanic penguins to build their nests. Both parents take turns laying on the … Continued

Apr 29, 2021

National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day is observed each year on April 30 as a way to raise awareness for thousands of pets that are waiting for their “fur-ever” home. Pets of varying sizes, color, temperaments and breed are waiting to meet their future families right now at your local shelter. Many of the domestic … Continued

Apr 29, 2021

May 13 pup-date: The 3-week-old tamandua pup appears to be recovering from her respiratory illness and continues to receive treatment from our veterinary and animal care teams. The pup continues to nurse from her mom Terra and receives additional supplemental feedings to ensure she continues to grow and gain weight. Terra is a wonderful mother … Continued

Apr 01, 2021

Endangered Sumatran tiger Indah will make her public debut at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium on Friday, April 2, at noon. It’s a homecoming for the female tiger, one of three cubs born at the Tacoma zoo over six years ago. “It’s heartwarming to welcome her home to Tacoma and see her all grown up,” … Continued

aquarium

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May 14, 2021

Ever touched a moon jellyfish? Seen baby jellies through a giant microscope? Fed an anemone? Starting June 4, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is bringing back its popular behind-the-scenes experience inside the Pacific Seas Aquarium that lets you do all this and more! The fascinating tour through the backstage areas takes you to places only … Continued

Mar 11, 2021

“Wow, they’re huge!” is something both Zoo guests and staff can be heard saying inside the Pacific Seas Aquarium. They’re talking about the scalloped hammerhead sharks that have dramatically grown since they first arrived in 2017 as nearly 2-foot-long pups. Now, they are an impressive five to six-feet long. And wow, do they love to … Continued

Mar 02, 2021

It’s time to shell-ebrate! Both the Pacific Seas Aquarium and South Pacific Aquarium are reopening and all three sea turtles Bruno, Sunny and Azul are “turtle-y” healthy and will be out swimming in the Baja Bay habitat to welcome you back! While our aquariums were temporarily closed to keep staff and guests safe, our aquatic … Continued

Mar 02, 2021

It’s time for sharks! And green sea turtles, eagle rays and jellies too. The Pacific Seas Aquarium and South Pacific Aquarium are reopening March 5 at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium with protocols to keep guests safe and healthy. “Getting up close to sea turtles, sharks and other aquarium animals is an exhilarating experience for … Continued

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

Apr 20, 2021

If Dr. Karen Wolf needs another skilled set of hands for a walrus procedure, she knows who to call. And if Dr. Allison Case has a beaver or owl that needs attention while she’s out of town, she has a second clinic just a van-trip away. The two women are head veterinarians of Point Defiance … Continued

Mar 17, 2021

Specialists at Oregon State University’s veterinary hospital operated Tuesday on a rare red wolf from the breeding program at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Washington. Chester, who was born at the Tacoma, Wash. zoo nearly two years ago, is one of only about 260 red wolves remaining in the world. The procedure went smoothly … Continued

Feb 16, 2021

Dr. Karen Wolf, left, and Dr. Caitlin Hadfield prepare Sekiu for surgery. NOTE: Graphic visual content further down the post. On a cold winter’s morning at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Animal Health Care, head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf did an unusual thing during surgery: She put a fresh ice pack on her patient’s chest. … Continued

Oct 22, 2020

Inflammatory bowel disease is no fun. Diarrhea, vomiting, unpleasant gut sensations, even pain or fever. But if you’re an American red wolf, there are worse implications: That inflammation in your intestines might cause you to lose weight, get stressed and maybe even fail to reproduce. For an endangered species with less than 300 like you … Continued

conservation

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May 11, 2021

Seattle-Tacoma represent! More than 550 observers took part in this year’s City Nature Challenge spanning King and Pierce counties, including Everett, Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Snohomish and any place in between! Between April 30 and May 3, community scientists submitted more than 7,000 nature observations and identified more than 1,200 species showing the world the incredible … Continued

May 04, 2021

By Emily Ringer, Senior Manager of Communications and Advocacy, Polar Bears International Last week, a tech challenge to invent a better way to track polar bears moved out of the lab and onto the fur of a polar bear at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, one of seven North American zoos participating in the project. … Continued

Mar 16, 2021

Annual global event April 30-May 3 offers opportunity for Puget Sound folks to discover nearby wildlife, help science and get outside safely. Quick – what’s that speckled green frog by the pond there? Don’t know? Then pull out your phone and prepare to find out during the annual City Nature Challenge! From April 30-May 3, … Continued

Feb 17, 2021

At the elephant habitat at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Shannon and Russell are doing something usually reserved for zoo visitors, not keepers. Side by side, phones held aloft, they’re taking photos of Suki, the zoo’s 56-year-old Asian elephant. Their angles are different: Shannon, assistant curator, is at least a foot shorter than Russell, staff … Continued

people

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May 04, 2021

Go beyond the typical Mother’s Day gifts and give mom a memorable experience she can enjoy with the whole family this year. Swim with sharks, get up close to a moose or touch a jellyfish! She won’t soon forget these amazing experiences at Point Defiance Zoo and our sister zoo, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park! Swim … Continued

Mar 18, 2021

After a year plus of quarantine and a cold winter of being cooped up inside, many families are feeling the need to get outside and do fun activities together, safely! Here are 10 ideas for things to do over Spring Break, and they all follow the state’s current guidelines to keep your family healthy. Take … Continued

Mar 17, 2021

Since 1987, the City of Tacoma has honored over 200 outstanding local volunteers through its City of Destiny Awards program. This year, six volunteers from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium were chosen as 2021 City of Destiny Award recipients. Youth Volunteers In the “Youth Service” category, Zoo Senior Guides Enjoli Shaw and Logan Cornwell took … Continued

Dec 28, 2020

What a year this has been! From clouded leopard AI to a new muskox calf, from Zoolights to HeroRATs and everything in between, we’ve captured this year in our best photos of 2020.  

plants

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Nov 17, 2020

Missing travel? While the coronavirus pandemic has made global vacations more dream than reality, Puget Sound-area folks have an option right on their doorstep: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, where you can surround yourself with plants and animals from around the Pacific Rim. Tigers in lush Asian bamboo, South American rainforest reptiles, Australian amphibians and … Continued

Jun 22, 2020

Tomatoes. Apples. Almonds. Pumpkin. Coffee. Tea. Chocolate. All pretty important, right? And they all have one thing in common: they need pollinators. Around 1,000 plants that humans use for food, drink, fiber, spices or medicine need to be pollinated by a very special group of animals called pollinators. Bees, butterflies, wasps, moths, hummingbirds, bats and … Continued

Feb 06, 2020

They communicate with each other. Send out pheromones when stressed. Adapt 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 constantly making … Continued

Jan 24, 2020

When animals are endangered, they often make headlines: 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 about it? Bryon Jones does. … Continued

zoolights

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Nov 24, 2020

Over 700,000 LED lights, new Kraken display, indoor areas closed, buy tickets in advance. The longstanding community tradition of Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium begins this Friday, Nov. 27. The Zoo has transformed into a colorful winter wonderland- with more than 700,000 LED lights now strung across trees, shrubs, pathways and displays. Health … Continued

Nov 12, 2020

You can’t set up 700,000 LED lights overnight! It takes time… months, actually. The Zoolights crew at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium spent most of October and November- rain or shine, warm or cold (mostly, cold)- prepping for the region’s classic holiday lights extravaganza and creating new displays. Things are a bit different this year … Continued

Oct 19, 2020

Tickets are now on sale for Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and the holiday decorating has begun! The longstanding community tradition will have health at the top of mind this year, to ensure a safe environment for everyone. Zoolights begins Nov. 27 and runs through Jan. 3. Hours are 5 p.m. – 9 … Continued

Sep 24, 2020

Traditional Zoolights returns Nov. 27 – Jan. 3, with health and safety precautions.   Zoolights will return this holiday season to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium with new safety protocols and the traditional light displays that have lit up the community for the past 32 years. BUY ZOOLIGHTS TICKETS “We are thrilled to continue the … Continued