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Zoo News

Setting up for Zoolights

You can’t set up 700,000 LED lights overnight! It takes time… months, actually. The Zoolights crew at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium spend most of October and November- rain or shine, warm or cold (mostly, cold)- prepping for the region’s classic holiday lights extravaganza. BUY ZOOLIGHTS TICKETS Things will be different this year due to … Continued

Nov 12, 2020

animals

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Nov 25, 2020

Just as humans get excited for a full plate of food- so do animals. Some of the Zoo’s animals were recently given their own Thanksgiving feast, thanks to the creativity of zookeepers. HeroRATs- mini feast, tiny food The HeroRATs received a festive meal, including pumpkin pie! Staff Biologist Jessie Sutherland and Zoological Aid Natalie Lind … Continued

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

Oct 29, 2020

King Julien has nothing on Queen Tiffany. On a sunny fall morning, the small black-and-white ruffed lemur is reclining on a grassy hummock in her Kids’ Zone habitat at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, propped on one arm and looking like a very furry Roman emperor. Or rather, empress. Because lemurs are matriarchal, and while … Continued

Oct 26, 2020

Black cats, pumpkins, ghosts… skulls and skeletons. They’re all symbols of the Halloween season. We asked Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s head veterinarian, Dr. Karen Wolf, to give us an “inside” look at a few of the Zoo’s animals and their not-so-spooky skeletons. Dr. Wolf regularly takes radiographs or X-rays of the animals to check … Continued

aquarium

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Aug 27, 2020

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is reopening its Eye-to-Eye Shark Dives on Thursday, Sept. 10, with timed online tickets and enhanced safety protocols designed to help guests connect up close with sharks while staying safe and healthy. Timed online tickets will go on sale Aug. 28. The 60-minute adventure allows up to four guests from … Continued

Aug 10, 2020

Everyone knows shark teeth, right? Those big slathering daggers in scary movies? Uh, no. At least, there’s a lot more to shark teeth than the pop culture stereotypes. Some sharks are enormous – but have the tiniest teeth! Many sharks have different teeth in front compared to the back of their mouths, depending on what … Continued

Aug 07, 2020

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is currently home to nine species of sharks. They live among sea turtles, eagle rays and dozens of fish. The aquarists in both the Pacific Seas Aquarium and the South Pacific Aquarium have a unique way of feeding the sharks to ensure each one receives the food it needs to … Continued

Jun 30, 2020

It’s time for sharks! And green sea turtles, eagle rays and jellies too. The Pacific Seas Aquarium and South Pacific Aquarium are reopening July 1 at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium with new protocols to keep guests safe and healthy. Oh, and guests will get to meet Bruno the green sea turtle, too. “Our aquarium … 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

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

Oct 13, 2020

It’s National Veterinary Technician Week Oct. 11-17, and we’re celebrating our wonderful veterinary technicians with a virtual thank-you card. Keepers, curators and veterinarians all weighed in to thank our superhero vet techs Julie Lemon and Sara Dunleavy for all they do to care for animals and help staff: prepping for procedures, monitoring animal vitals and … Continued

Sep 21, 2020

Aquarist John Foster cradled the vermilion rockfish gently in two hands, submersed. Anesthetized, it lay still as veterinarian Dr. Kadie Anderson took a quick documentary photo of its eyes, which bulged to each side. Then Foster lowered the fish – now fully awake – into a water-filled container that looked something like sci-fi author Jules … Continued

Sep 21, 2020

Shannon Smith stands outside on a fall day, calling out encouragement. “Foot!” she requests. Across the yard, her “buddy” of 24 years slowly lifts a leg, then puts it back down. “Good!” exclaims Smith, and offers an apple slice. It’s exercise time at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, and Smith is leading Suki the elderly … Continued

conservation

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Oct 28, 2020

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 bear Blizzard, has worked for years with the non-profit Polar Bears International (PBI) to tell the … 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

Oct 08, 2020

Once upon a time there were two wolf species: red wolves and gray wolves. Neither of them were “big and bad,” but they were often feared by humans. Over time, more and more were killed. By 1940 gray wolves were decimated in the American wild and by the 1970s, so were red wolves. It was … Continued

Sep 16, 2020

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has won two significant awards from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, announced today at the 2020 AZA online conference. One is shared with sister zoo Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. The prestigious Edward Bean Award was given to Point Defiance Zoo in collaboration with the National Zoo’s Smithsonian Conservation Biology … Continued

people

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Nov 04, 2020

The pandemic has reminded us about the importance of connecting with family, friends and loved ones. For the holidays this year, consider gifting those close to you something to experience together at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Each of these experiences has health protocols in mind, so you can ensure you’re gifting both a safe … Continued

Oct 20, 2020

Always wanted to go to Zoobilee? Now, everyone can – because The Zoo Society’s fabulous fundraising party is returning this year, transformed into an online event on Nov. 13. It’s absolutely free, complete with Zoom cocktails, livestreamed auction and virtual animal appearances. A 27-year Tacoma tradition, Zoobilee evolved to bring together leaders and philanthropists to … Continued

Oct 13, 2020

It’s National Veterinary Technician Week Oct. 11-17, and we’re celebrating our wonderful veterinary technicians with a virtual thank-you card. Keepers, curators and veterinarians all weighed in to thank our superhero vet techs Julie Lemon and Sara Dunleavy for all they do to care for animals and help staff: prepping for procedures, monitoring animal vitals and … Continued

Oct 02, 2020

Animals, Costumes and Fun at Point Defiance Zoo & Northwest Trek  It’s time to have some spooky fun while staying safe at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Both zoos are getting in the fall spirit, with pumpkin enrichment for animals and costumes encouraged for everyone in October! Whether you want … Continued

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 spend most of October and November- rain or shine, warm or cold (mostly, cold)- prepping for the region’s classic holiday lights extravaganza. BUY ZOOLIGHTS TICKETS Things will be different this year due to … 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