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Savage Garden Tour

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

Sep 25, 2018

animal care

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Oct 15, 2018

For Veterinary Technician Week 2018, 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 do without them. Lauren Miele, part-time vet tech at Point … Continued

Oct 15, 2018

For Veterinary Technician Week 2018, 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 do without them. Julie Lemon, full-time vet tech at Point … Continued

Sep 26, 2018

Animal care aide Jordan Jirik lies flat on her stomach, her head hanging over the top of Baja Bay’s 280,000-gallon habitat. Below her, five hungry spotted eagle rays swim eagerly up to a large black sign with a big white X emblazoned on it. It’s their feeding-station target. And when it appears in the water, … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

Our incredible staff goes through extreme lengths for medical procedures to help treat all Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium animals, from a small turtle to a massive tiger. Four veterinarians, two dentists, two dental assistants, one x-ray technician and several caring zookeepers gave one endangered Sumatran tiger a root canal last Friday. Kirana did great … Continued

animals

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Aug 28, 2018

Dozer, the lovable, 3,078-pound walrus with the 17-inch-long tusks and unmistakable whistle, is leaving Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium mid-September. But there’s still time to bid him farewell. He’ll be featured on the marine mammal Keeper Talks at 3pm Saturday Sept. 15 and Sunday Sept. 16, the last weekend before he leaves. Dozer’s a crowd … Continued

Aug 25, 2018

With soft pale fur and sharp claws, Terra moseys up a log. She goes farther, her long tail wrapping for balance, sniffing and exploring until she’s way overhead. Then, without fuss, she makes her way back almost upside-down. Meet Terra, the Zoo’s new Southern tamandua. “She loves to climb,” says Jessie Sutherland, staff biologist at … Continued

Aug 24, 2018

For a meet-up of two engineers, things were going swimmingly. Walnut, the Zoo’s North American beaver, was grabbing a willow branch in his mouth and purposefully dragging it across the grass. His companion Nutmeg, who’d recently moved to her new Zoo home from sister zoo Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, was thoroughly investigating the grassy space. … Continued

Jun 26, 2018

Dozer is back! He arrived mid-November, and will spend part of each day on exhibit. All the ladies love Dozer The hunky 3,450-pound walrus with the 17-inch tusks has come back to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – but it’s not just visitors who’ll be charmed by the enormous whistling guy. Dozer’s back in town … Continued

aquarium

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Sep 26, 2018

Animal care aide Jordan Jirik lies flat on her stomach, her head hanging over the top of Baja Bay’s 280,000-gallon habitat. Below her, five hungry spotted eagle rays swim eagerly up to a large black sign with a big white X emblazoned on it. It’s their feeding-station target. And when it appears in the water, … Continued

Sep 11, 2018

Two dozen necks crane up, up, up, eyes riveted on the scene above, as four hammerhead sharks cruise overhead. Sunny the sea turtle joins the scene, swimming unhurriedly by and then diving deeper into his home. Suddenly, two eagle rays “fly” overhead, their pectoral fins gently flapping up and down to propel them through the … Continued

Aug 08, 2018

Already, glorious lion’s mane jellyfish swim beautifully against a bright blue backdrop in the Jelly Gallery of the Pacific Seas Aquarium. They are mesmerizing. Their gelatinous, umbrella-shaped bells move water in and out, tentacles trailing below, as they move majestically through their watery space. The countdown is on. There are just 30 days until the … Continued

Jul 16, 2018

It was almost as if they knew it was moving day. Nearly 100 bright red, bigscale soldierfish splashed in their behind-the-scenes pool in the old North Pacific Aquarium, so energetic they threw water up and out of the net that covered their temporary home. “They know our blue shirts,” said Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium … 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

Jun 22, 2018

In a corner of the Pacific Seas Aquarium, Maria Jost is putting up a poster. With guest engagement coordinator Amy Hale holding up one corner on a stepladder, Jost surveys the big paper proof for size and fit. Spotlit, the corner is a tiny island of human activity in an otherwise-underwater room: teal-swept walls, rock-edged … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

In Kait Rhoads’ Seattle studio, four people are making a jellyfish. Focusing intently, they thread glass circles onto long steel tentacles, weaving copper wire in and out to keep the circles in place. Even with light floating through the big windows and art and plants everywhere, it’s a tedious job. But the atmosphere’s upbeat. Rhoads’ … Continued

conservation

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Jun 13, 2018

This is an archive of a trip by staff biologist Telena Welsh, who visited Java, Indonesia to work with other conservation experts to learn how we can prevent the extinction of the lowland anoa. Telena’s’s trip was made possible through The Zoo Society’s Dr. Holly Reed Wildlife Conservation Fund. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

Follow education curator Karen Povey and head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf as they visit the rainforests of Borneo to work with other conservation experts to learn how we can preserve habitats for clouded leopards and other species.   Tuesday July 28, 2015 We’re off to the rainforest! Dr. Karen Wolf, PDZA’s Head Veterinarian (pictured at … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

NOTE: This is an archive of a trip by staff biologist Cindy Roberts, who visited Churchill, Manitoba to work with other conservation experts to learn about habitat preservation for polar bears. Check back soon for a continuation of this story! Cindy Roberts’ trip was made possible with support from Polar Bears International and The Zoo … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

Amazing. That’s the word used to describe the outcome of the 2018 Point Defiance Park BioBlitz, a 24-hour survey of living things observed in the 760-acre park. By sheer numbers, the BioBlitz more than met its purpose of forging connections between people and their natural surroundings, said Metro Parks Tacoma’s Craig Standridge. In his role … Continued

history

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Jun 12, 2018

Building an Aquarium The North Pacific Aquarium was built to replace the aging 1940 aquarium, a wooden building down on the waterfront that was rusting, rotting and leaking. Early ideas included moving it to the park’s “bus station” (now the Pagoda), but by 1961 the Park Board decided to build a new one inside the zoo complex, … Continued

people

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Oct 15, 2018

For Veterinary Technician Week 2018, 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 do without them. Lauren Miele, part-time vet tech at Point … Continued

Oct 15, 2018

For Veterinary Technician Week 2018, 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 do without them. Julie Lemon, full-time vet tech at Point … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

Amazing. That’s the word used to describe the outcome of the 2018 Point Defiance Park BioBlitz, a 24-hour survey of living things observed in the 760-acre park. By sheer numbers, the BioBlitz more than met its purpose of forging connections between people and their natural surroundings, said Metro Parks Tacoma’s Craig Standridge. In his role … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

A collaboration between the Zoo and Tacoma Public Schools’ Science and Math Institute (SAMi), the new Environmental Learning Center just north of the Zoo’s entrance is now open! It serves SAMi students and staff, as well as Zoo visitors and staff. The two-story shared-use building, constructed with Tacoma School District bond funds, serves a range … Continued

plants

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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