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Zoo News

Making Turtle Waves

The look on Keilan Fowora’s face was priceless. “Are these real?” asked the seven-year-old, running his fingers over a sea turtle shell and the sharp teeth on a shark jaw bone. “Yep, they’re real,” assured Heather Detwiler, outreach associate for Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, standing behind the table at Tacoma’s STAR Center. Then Keilan’s … Continued

Apr 17, 2019

animal care

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Apr 08, 2019

Aquarist Mikiko Williams, clad in a black wetsuit, stood in the Japanese Spider Crab habitat at the Pacific Seas Aquarium, reached down, gently picked up an animal that weighed about 8 pounds and hoisted it up and out of the water. It was just after 8:30 a.m., the Zoo would open in an hour, and … Continued

Mar 27, 2019

In a corridor surrounded by pipes, tanks and equipment, three women crouch over a tub. One – an intern veterinarian – carefully handles a Q-tip swab. The second – a veterinarian – readies a microscope slide. The third – an aquarist – has her gloved hands submerged, gently holding a china rockfish. A fourth aquarist … Continued

Feb 28, 2019

Zoological Aide Katie Schachtsick holds a long-handled back-scratcher and applies just the right amount of pressure as she rubs it across the black-and-white hide of endangered Malayan tapir Yuna. It’s clear Yuna enjoys the attention – and the back rub – leaning into the scratcher and then moving her stout legs down, getting into a … Continued

Feb 25, 2019

Cross your paws. And think of tiger cubs! Our endangered female Sumatran tigers, 5-year-old Kali and 4-year-old Kirana, could be pregnant. Both were artificially inseminated Jan. 30 with sperm from 14-year-old Mohan. We won’t know for a few weeks if a pregnancy resulted, but if successful, tiger cubs would be born in May. But it … Continued

animals

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Feb 28, 2019

Zoological Aide Katie Schachtsick holds a long-handled back-scratcher and applies just the right amount of pressure as she rubs it across the black-and-white hide of endangered Malayan tapir Yuna. It’s clear Yuna enjoys the attention – and the back rub – leaning into the scratcher and then moving her stout legs down, getting into a … Continued

Jan 28, 2019

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 28, 2019

Rainy day? Here in the Pacific Northwest we get a lot of them. But that’s actually one of the best times to visit the Zoo! Fewer crowds, cool animals and plenty of places to stay dry. Here are 10 ways to do it. 1. Gaze at sea turtles Our new Pacific Seas Aquarium is the … Continued

Jan 23, 2019

At age 33, Boris is very likely the oldest male polar bear on the planet. We know he’s the oldest male of his species in zoo-related databases that keep track of polar bears worldwide. And since polar bears live longer under human care than they do in the wild, we think he is the champ. … Continued

aquarium

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Apr 17, 2019

The look on Keilan Fowora’s face was priceless. “Are these real?” asked the seven-year-old, running his fingers over a sea turtle shell and the sharp teeth on a shark jaw bone. “Yep, they’re real,” assured Heather Detwiler, outreach associate for Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, standing behind the table at Tacoma’s STAR Center. Then Keilan’s … Continued

Mar 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

Jan 31, 2019

As part of the Pacific Seas Aquarium Community Celebration, come every weekend of April for something totally new and wonderful! From filmmakers to performers and community science, we’ve got it all.   April 6-7: Lelavision music/dance When: 10:30am, 12:30pm, 2:30pm (30 mins each) Where: Baja Bay Vashon Island-based duo Lelavision combine musical sculpture, dance, circus … Continued

Jan 31, 2019

As part of the Pacific Seas Aquarium Community Celebration, we’re having a special ocean storytime at 11am every Thursday in the Baja Bay area of the Pacific Seas Aquarium! Fun for for kids and adults. All activities free with Zoo admission. Join us!   April 4: Critter Club – Super Sea Turtles  When: 11am Where: … Continued

Apr 17, 2019

The look on Keilan Fowora’s face was priceless. “Are these real?” asked the seven-year-old, running his fingers over a sea turtle shell and the sharp teeth on a shark jaw bone. “Yep, they’re real,” assured Heather Detwiler, outreach associate for Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, standing behind the table at Tacoma’s STAR Center. Then Keilan’s … 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

Aug 28, 2018

“Do you need more padding?” Kait Rhoads is standing, hands on hips, near a tentacled lump swathed in bubble wrap. Four men hover, poised to act. As one micro-adjusts a padding blanket on a lift, the others set hands on the bubble wrap. “Ready? One, two, three, up!” With two weeks to go until the … Continued

conservation

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Feb 14, 2019

At Arlington Elementary in South Tacoma, 25 kids are wiggling into blue rain jackets. As a teacher corrals them into line, they hop around excitedly, chatting to the four Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium staff helping them. “Are we going to the park?” “Are we doing science again?” When the Zoo staff smile and nod, … Continued

Jan 30, 2019

Ocean Voices Speaker Series As part of the Pacific Seas Aquarium Community Celebration, every Tuesday evening this April we’re gathering the best local scientists and ocean folks we can find for a dynamic speaker series at venues around Tacoma. Come listen, learn and be inspired to protect our ocean. All events are free.   April … Continued

Jan 22, 2019

Ask Grace Doleshel why she loves the ocean, and she bubbles with memories of family visits to the rugged Olympic coast: exploring tide pools, walking miles of wild beaches. Shay Steeves also grew up with a love of the sea, swimming and exploring Puget Sound shores. But the high school seniors have another thing in … Continued

Nov 30, 2018

For many years now, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has been saving energy every night of Zoolights with LED bulbs – in fact, we’ve been totally LED since 2014. But now the Zoo will be making energy during the day as well, thanks to 71 brand-new solar panels on the roof of a building most … Continued

people

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Feb 14, 2019

At Arlington Elementary in South Tacoma, 25 kids are wiggling into blue rain jackets. As a teacher corrals them into line, they hop around excitedly, chatting to the four Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium staff helping them. “Are we going to the park?” “Are we doing science again?” When the Zoo staff smile and nod, … Continued

Jan 31, 2019

As part of the Pacific Seas Aquarium Community Celebration, come every weekend of April for something totally new and wonderful! From filmmakers to performers and community science, we’ve got it all.   April 6-7: Lelavision music/dance When: 10:30am, 12:30pm, 2:30pm (30 mins each) Where: Baja Bay Vashon Island-based duo Lelavision combine musical sculpture, dance, circus … Continued

Jan 31, 2019

As part of the Pacific Seas Aquarium Community Celebration, we’re having a special ocean storytime at 11am every Thursday in the Baja Bay area of the Pacific Seas Aquarium! Fun for for kids and adults. All activities free with Zoo admission. Join us!   April 4: Critter Club – Super Sea Turtles  When: 11am Where: … Continued

Jan 30, 2019

Ocean Voices Speaker Series As part of the Pacific Seas Aquarium Community Celebration, every Tuesday evening this April we’re gathering the best local scientists and ocean folks we can find for a dynamic speaker series at venues around Tacoma. Come listen, learn and be inspired to protect our ocean. All events are free.   April … Continued

plants

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Jan 07, 2019

Behind the Asian Forest Sanctuary at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, volunteer Scott Murdock has disappeared behind a vine. The massive spread of large, furling leaves engulfs Murdock’s head, leaving visible just legs on a ladder. Sprawled in the sun, the vines smell rich and green. It’s the Zoo’s kiwifruit arbor, and Murdock gently twists … Continued

Oct 29, 2018

No, you won’t find a Tyrannosaurus next to the tigers. But Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has dozens of living things whose roots go back hundreds of millions of years. Ferns, mosses, cycads and ginkoes – not to mention the Wollemi pine or monkey puzzle tree. Yep, we’re talking plants: living fossils that have been … Continued

Sep 25, 2018

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