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Zoo News

Living Giants – Meet our Trees

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

Oct 23, 2019

animal care

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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

Oct 07, 2019

It’s possibly the best job in the world. Adrienne Umpstead, staff biologist at the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater, sits in a pool of sunlight just near the tamandua habitat. One foot propped on a stool, her lap is covered with a small pillow and fleece blanket. One hand is poised with a bottle; the other … Continued

Sep 03, 2019

Big news: Our new baby tamandua is a girl, and her name is Chiquita! And since her weight was low at birth and she was slow to gain weight despite nursing, she’s getting extra veterinary and keeper care around the clock to help her grow and thrive. “She’s doing very well,” said head veterinarian Dr. … Continued

animals

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Nov 15, 2019

They were rescued as orphans in the same week. They spent the next three months of their lives together, snuggling with keepers and each other. And now, after seven years, they’ll be together again. Young male walruses Mitik (pronounced Mitt-ick) and Pakak (Puck-uck, or Puck for short) have arrived at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium … 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

Oct 09, 2019

Cindy Roberts and Sheriden Ploof stood in long rubber boots on the edge of the walrus pool, metal bucket in hand. For the two Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium staff biologists, it was a bittersweet moment. Basilla and Kulusiq, the zoo’s two female walruses, were leaving for a new home in sunny San Diego – … Continued

Oct 01, 2019

Kulu loves playing with a hose waterfall. Basa gives a deep sigh if she’s not in the mood for something. Cumulatively, they’ve lived at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium for 16 years. Our lady walruses Kulusiq and Basilla are leaving for SeaWorld San Diego, and we’re giving them two weekends of farewell: Oct. 5-6 and … Continued

aquarium

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Jun 10, 2019

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

May 21, 2019

As a young boy watches, face pressed to the glass wall, a flood of bubbly white water gushes through the Tidal Surge habitat. As water washes over them, green anemones wave and pink sea stars cling to the rocks. The bubbles subside and the boy stares, enthralled – even before he’s set foot inside the … Continued

Apr 24, 2019

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

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

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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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

Oct 10, 2019

On a fine day this summer, Stephanie Rager, staff biologist at the Zoo’s Rocky Shores habitat, went for a hike. After three miles and a lot of uphill walking at the remote edge of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, she arrived with two other women at the rocky outcrop of Sand Point. There they set up a … Continued

Aug 14, 2019

If the tiger is the king of the jungle, then the anoa would be the gardener. They’re not iconic like an elephant, or acrobatic like a siamang. They don’t star in Pixar movies or cartoons. Even in the jungle, they can be impossible to find. But this tiniest species of buffalo just 30 inches tall … Continued

people

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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

Nov 01, 2019

It’s a problem, just how many spots Kazu the tapir calf has. Not for him, of course – the spots are excellent camouflage. But for Dennis Parkhurst and Mason Patzer, carpenters at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, the baby tapir’s watermelon-spotted coat presented a challenge: How to illuminate all those spots in a Zoolights display? … Continued

Oct 22, 2019

Puffins! Barn owls! Moon jellies! There was a parade of animals at Tacoma Public School’s Arlington Elementary on September 30, 2019 – not literally, but as class mascots for a new crop of Wildlife Champions. The school was kicking off year two of the science-in-nature partnership with Metro Parks Tacoma’s Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, … 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

plants

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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

Jul 23, 2019

Tangy mint smell. Velvety flowers. Giant sandpapery leaves. Visit a garden with ALL of your senses, and you experience the plant world in a totally different way – which is exactly what Bryon Jones wants you to do. On Sunday August 4 at 10am, the horticulturalist at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium will lead his … Continued