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Zoo News

Zookeeper Life: Jamie

Summer sunlight dapples through Douglas firs. The air hums with insects, pierced by sharp raven calls. All else is quiet – and keeper Jamie climbs into the truck. Time to check up on 47 red wolves. 7:30am Most zookeepers don’t work all alone in a forest. Jamie, however, is a staff biologist for Point Defiance … Continued

Jul 16, 2021

animals

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Aug 27, 2021

What’s the best way to take your first swim? Well, if you’re a hand-reared penguin chick, you find a penguin buddy. On a hot day in August, penguin chick Rio had his first swim session in a behind-the-scenes pool at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – and his buddy was big sister penguin Maxine … Continued

Aug 16, 2021

On an overcast morning, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s jelly team readies their boat and heads out into Puget Sound to a cove between Vashon and Maury Islands. The goal: collecting moon jellies. Moon jellies are plentiful in the waters around the Pacific Northwest and the jelly team will try to collect up to 100 … Continued

Aug 16, 2021

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is inviting the community to help name the new female giant Pacific octopus inside the Pacific Seas Aquarium. The zoo’s aquarists have chosen six names and are asking the public to vote for their favorite. Those names are: Gertie: referring to the Tacoma legend that the largest octopus in the … Continued

Aug 13, 2021

As a powerful heat wave hits the greater Tacoma area with temperatures nearing 100-degrees, keepers at both Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Wash. and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville, Wash. are finding ways to keep the animals cool. At Point Defiance Zoo, 2-month-old penguin chick Rio is just learning how to swim … Continued

aquarium

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Aug 26, 2021

What better way to go back-to-school than at an aquarium? Here at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, we have two huge aquariums to choose from, with schools of fish to make any Dr. Seuss fan happy! Here’s our version of the familiar classic. Read, then come and meet all the characters in real life, at … Continued

Aug 24, 2021

After a week of public voting, fans chose Gertie as the name for the new giant Pacific octopus in the Pacific Seas Aquarium at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. The name was one of six names chosen by aquarists. Over 7,100 votes came in online during the week, and the race was close. Gertie topped … Continued

Aug 16, 2021

On an overcast morning, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s jelly team readies their boat and heads out into Puget Sound to a cove between Vashon and Maury Islands. The goal: collecting moon jellies. Moon jellies are plentiful in the waters around the Pacific Northwest and the jelly team will try to collect up to 100 … Continued

Aug 16, 2021

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is inviting the community to help name the new female giant Pacific octopus inside the Pacific Seas Aquarium. The zoo’s aquarists have chosen six names and are asking the public to vote for their favorite. Those names are: Gertie: referring to the Tacoma legend that the largest octopus in the … Continued

Sep 08, 2021

Just above floor level at the Red Wolf Woods habitat, a young girl crouches low. Open-mouthed in wonder, she slowly runs her fingers over the soft snout of a sleeping red wolf pup. But the pup doesn’t snap – or even stir. It’s “Just Settling In,” a near-life-size sculpture set deliberately within reach of curious … Continued

Jul 22, 2021

Zookeepers and the animals they love What’s the animal you feel most deeply inside? The one you connect with, love, relate to, share traits with? For National Zookeeper Week 2021, we asked our assistant curators that very same question. Then our incredible staff photographer Katie Cotterill took portraits of both keeper AND animal, superimposing them … 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

Jul 19, 2021

What do you do if your 760-pound male muskox refuses to do what you ask him? Well, if you’re a zookeeper, you have other strategies in your pocket. For keeper Piper, who cares for muskoxen, clouded leopards and an elephant at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, it’s all in a day’s work. 7am Piper’s day … Continued

Jul 19, 2021

Two things make zookeeper life in the Asian Forest Sanctuary quite different from anywhere else at Point Defiance Zoo: lots of meat, and lots of doors. And in a typical day at work, keeper Sam handles both of them with ease – not to mention tigers, tapirs and porcupines. 7:30am In summer, Sam and her … Continued

Jul 16, 2021

It’s hard to describe the awe when you stand at the Baja Bay window in Point Defiance Zoo’s Pacific Seas Aquarium and watch spotted eagle rays swoop through blue water overhead. But Tyler, one of the zoo’s aquarists, gets an even more immersive experience: waist-deep in their 80-degree water, feeling velvety noses as they munch … Continued

Jul 16, 2021

Keeper Stephanie’s day involves quite a lot of fish – and shrimp, and clam, and squid. When you care for ten marine mammals and four flocks of seabirds in nine different pools, you do a lot of feeding – and cleaning too. But for keepers like Stephanie at Point Defiance Zoo’s Rocky Shores habitat, creativity … Continued

conservation

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Sep 08, 2021

Just above floor level at the Red Wolf Woods habitat, a young girl crouches low. Open-mouthed in wonder, she slowly runs her fingers over the soft snout of a sleeping red wolf pup. But the pup doesn’t snap – or even stir. It’s “Just Settling In,” a near-life-size sculpture set deliberately within reach of curious … Continued

Aug 03, 2021

Clouded leopards are endangered. Their tropical forests are being cut down for logging, human habitat and to grow palm oil, a common food product. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium plays a huge role in the conservation of clouded leopards in the wild. The Zoo is part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) that keeps zoo … Continued

Jul 28, 2021

Bandar likes Kali. Kali likes him but it depends on the day. Indah adores Raja but sometimes he’d just prefer food. Kirana’s not a fan of either guy, but she’ll play along when she wants. If this sounds like a complicated Tinder triangle (or pentagon) to you, you’re not wrong. Tiger breeding is happening with … Continued

Jul 26, 2021

It’s the ultimate matchmaker job. Dr. Karen Goodrowe, general curator at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, has spent her career researching and guiding animal reproduction in zoos – particularly big cats like clouded leopards and tigers. Now she’s the coordinator for all three tiger Species Survival Plan® programs in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums … Continued

people

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Sep 08, 2021

Happy Howl-o-ween! Dress up like a cat (meow-lo-ween!), monkey, elephant or whatever your favorite animal is and then see that same real-life animal at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium during Zoo Boo weekend, Oct. 16-17. The annual fun, fall-themed weekend is always a hoot among parents, kids and Zoo staff. Even the animals get a … Continued

Jul 26, 2021

It’s the ultimate matchmaker job. Dr. Karen Goodrowe, general curator at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, has spent her career researching and guiding animal reproduction in zoos – particularly big cats like clouded leopards and tigers. Now she’s the coordinator for all three tiger Species Survival Plan® programs in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums … Continued

Jul 22, 2021

Zookeepers and the animals they love What’s the animal you feel most deeply inside? The one you connect with, love, relate to, share traits with? For National Zookeeper Week 2021, we asked our assistant curators that very same question. Then our incredible staff photographer Katie Cotterill took portraits of both keeper AND animal, superimposing them … Continued

Jul 19, 2021

What do you do if your 760-pound male muskox refuses to do what you ask him? Well, if you’re a zookeeper, you have other strategies in your pocket. For keeper Piper, who cares for muskoxen, clouded leopards and an elephant at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, it’s all in a day’s work. 7am Piper’s day … Continued

plants

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Sep 13, 2021

It’s one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. It’s used for buildings, dishes, musical instruments. It’s food for animals and people. And there are over 45 types at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. We’re talking bamboo, that leggy, elegant plant known for both lush garden vibes as well as gardener headaches if it gets … 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

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

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