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Zoo News
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

Sep 15, 2020

You could say the double bass is the walrus of the music world. Large, bottom-heavy, ungainly and prone to awkward blurting noises, it doesn’t win any beauty contests. It doesn’t star in glossy movies, and often gets laughs rather than admiration. But, like actual walruses, it’s also capable of a powerful grace – and a … Continued

Aug 14, 2020

Bentley stared into the distance, eyes half-closed in rapture. He leaned into the gentle strokes massaging his skin, and soaked up the sunlight. Then came the utter bliss of a scratch between his horns. It was day-spa time for goats at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium as Zander and Lincoln Musselman, along with mom Sylvia, … Continued

Jul 21, 2020

National Zookeeper Week takes place July 19-25 this year. The week is devoted to sharing the passion and dedication of keepers. Even though Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium was temporarily closed to the public to slow the spread of COVID-19, the keepers never took a pause. They are a dedicated group of people who work … Continued

Jul 17, 2020

July 18 is Global Women’s Dive Day, and we’re so proud of our women diver-aquarists here at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium! Marine biologists who each have countless dive hours here inside our Pacific Seas Aquarium (PSA) and South Pacific Aquarium (SPA), as well as around the world, these ladies lead their fields in animal … Continued

Apr 17, 2020

In honor of National Volunteer Week, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s employees thank the zoo’s irreplaceable volunteers for their time and energy all year-round. In 2019, 364 youth and adult volunteers at the zoo logged a total of 36,385 hours. “I appreciate all of our volunteers for their hard work and dedication to Point Defiance … Continued

Jan 27, 2020

For parents of teens who won’t clean their room, it might seem amazing that six 13- and 14-year-olds would willingly spend a freezing winter morning chopping vegetables. But for the lucky teens signed up for the Keeper for a Day experience at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, that was just one part of being a … Continued

Jan 27, 2020

When Gemma Duggins signed up for the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit in 2017, she wasn’t sure what to expect. A seventh-grade homeschooler at the time, she was passionate about protecting the ocean – but had never been in a group of young people who felt the same way. So when she arrived at Point Defiance … Continued

Jan 13, 2020

Over 1 million guests at Zoo and Northwest Trek They came in waves, breaking records for the second year running to experience the wonders of the state-of-the-art Pacific Seas Aquarium in its first full year of operation at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Visitors by the thousands came to meet sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, eagle … Continued

Jan 08, 2020

For 10-year-old Maya, it was a story come to life. The tall, quiet girl with long brown hair had always loved birds – especially owls – reading many books about them. Now, on a cold December morning, she was standing with her classmates of Arlington Elementary School in front of two real live snowy owls … Continued

Dec 04, 2019

Olympia, Washington native comes from South Sound career of nonprofit “servant leadership.”   For Sarah Oliver, leadership is all about helping people achieve their mission. The Olympia, Washington native with a career in nonprofit leadership is bringing her people-focused expertise to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium as its new deputy director. The position oversees all … Continued

Dec 03, 2019

It’s a long way from Tacoma, Washington to Churchill, Manitoba: about 1,420 miles as the crow flies, at least eight hours by plane. There’s no road. In icy isolation on Canada’s Hudson Bay, it’s a world away from the lush, evergreen Puget Sound region. The thing the two towns have in common? Polar bears – … Continued

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

Sep 06, 2019

  The San Diego Zoo, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park are partnering to provide a virtual adventure television channel in Mary Bridge Children’s hospital patient rooms. This new channel is being provided by San Diego Zoo Global as part of its children’s hospital network that airs … Continued

Jul 10, 2019

It took three staff members, six adult volunteers, three youth Zoo Guides and four classes of high schoolers to shovel sand for polar bears – but it was worth it. On a late spring day, Boris and Blizzard, the polar bears at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, shifted to their inside dens for the day … Continued

Jun 05, 2019

Looking for awesome gift ideas for Dad? You’ve come to the right place. Nothing beats a fun animal experience at the Zoo or Point Defiance Park, especially when it’s one Dad can share with the whole family.   Eye-to-Eye Shark Dive All Dads are brave, right? Give yours the thrill of getting up close to … Continued

May 15, 2019

On the steps of the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater, there’s a little boy in a shark T-shirt. He’s clutching a blanket, and staring wide-eyed as an armadillo scuttles across the stage. He looks just like most of the other kids in the audience, who are equally enthralled. But six-year-old Keller is different in a really … Continued

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

Nov 20, 2018

How do you get a 100-foot octopus onto an aquarium roof? No, it’s not the first line of a joke. It’s just one of the challenges faced by the Zoolights crew at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium as they spend most of October and November prepping for the decades-long holiday lights show. But it’s a … 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. (Meet our other vet tech, Julie.) Lauren … 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