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Recent Releases


beaver kit butternut in grass
Butternut the baby beaver makes her debut

Aug. 6, 2019: Butternut, the beaver kit born in May at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, will make her public debut in Close Encounters near the zoo’s Discovery Hut at 2 p.m. Aug. 10 & 11– but she’ll have mom Nutmeg and dad Walnut there to keep her company as she meets her adoring fans.

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zoo booze and bites posterTime for spirited fun at Zoo BOOze& Bites

July 30, 2019: Zoo BOOze & Bites returns Friday Oct. 18 from 6-9 p.m. for a pre-Halloween party like no other. Tastings and bites from local breweries and chefs, a DJ, silent auction, fabulous raffle prize and costumes, all in the amazing setting of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium right by the new red wolf pups.

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tapir calfHealthy, nursing and curious: Tapir calf’s first exam

July 16: He’s healthy, weighs around 25 pounds and follows Mom everywhere. The Malayan tapir calf born July 12 at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has just received his first wellness exam, and he appears to be in perfect health, says Dr. Karen Wolf, head veterinarian.

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tapir calf
Endangered Malayan tapir calf born at Point Defiance Zoo

July 15: It’s a boy! An endangered Malayan tapir calf was born at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Friday night. He is the first tapir calf born at the zoo in its 114-year history.

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sand sculpture shark

Endangered species, sculpted in new sand sculpture

June 17: An elephant, tiger, anoa, green sea turtle, scalloped hammerhead shark and more have been slowly carved out of sand in “Species in the Sand,” a sand sculpture on the Zoo’s grassy lawn that kicked off mid-May and will last all summer.

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red wolf pup face close

Red wolf pups get their names and wander outside

June 12: They’ve got their legs under them now. And venturing out a bit, even learning how to climb the steps into their root cellar den.Now, the eight endangered red wolf pups born May 10 at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium are ready for their names.

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rocky shores walrus wave

Joan, beloved Pacific walrus, dies at Point Defiance Zoo

May 30: Pacific walrus Joan died today at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium following a decline in her health over the past several weeks. She was 24.

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penguin chick hatch wing

Two rare penguin chicks hatch

May 30, 2019: Peck. Peck. Peck. A tiny beak hammers away from the inside of an egg shell. It’s a rare Magellanic penguin, which along with its sibling hatched out on video, just in time for World Ocean Weekend.

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red wolf pup in hand

Name our red wolf pups

May 22, 2019: Our eight new red wolf pups need names, and we’re asking the public to vote in an online survey for two slates of names chosen by Zoo staff: one of place names, the other of trees in the wolves’ ancestral habitat in North Carolina.

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beaver kit in hand

We have a new beaver kit!

May 14, 2019: First there was Walnut, a male beaver living at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Then came Nutmeg, a female beaver who came to Tacoma from Northwest Trek Wildlife Park as a companion for Walnut. And now baby makes three.

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red wolf pups

Red wolf pups now total eight

May 13, 2019: What appeared at first to be a littler of four rare red wolf pups on Friday afternoon became a squirming mass of eight healthy newborns over the weekend. Red wolf mom Charlotte whelped the pups during about a 12-hour period between Friday afternoon and early Saturday morning.

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red wolf and pups
Happy Mothers’ Day! Four red wolf pups born at Point Defiance Zoo

May 10, 2019: Four apparently healthy red wolf pups were born Friday afternoon at the Zoo, part of a breeding program to ensure the survival of this critically endangered species. All four, plus mom Charlotte and dad Hyde, are doing well.

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duckling two keepers
Zookeepers rescue three stranded ducklings from a storm drain

May 10, 2019: When Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Senior Staff Biologist Marc Duncan heard the small noises coming from the depths of a storm drain at about 4:15 p.m. today, he instantly knew there were ducklings in trouble and swung into action – just in time for Mothers’ Day.

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mom and girl in Tidal Touch Zone
Moms get half-off general admission May 11

April 30, 2019: There’s a lot new to see and “zoo” at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, and there’s no better time for a family outing than Saturday May 11, when all mothers will receive half-off general admission.

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sensory bag

Zoo, Northwest Trek certified as “sensory-inclusive”

April 10, 2019: Northwest Trek Wildlife Park and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium each recently earned prestigious designation as “sensory inclusive” sites from a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness, acceptance and inclusion for people with autism and other special needs.

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Annie Crawley at sea
Ocean Voices speaker series brings story, science, inspiration

Mar. 11, 2019: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium brings ocean story, science and inspiration to venues around Tacoma every Tuesday during April in an Ocean Voices speaker series highlighting scientists, filmmakers and environmentalists who work to protect the ocean.

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turtle wave concept art

“Turtle Wave” community art to help save the ocean

Mar. 11, 2019: Make and see “Turtle Wave,” a community artwork being created at Metro Parks Tacoma facilities and elsewhere in the community over the next few weeks, with a grand finale scheduled April 26-28 inside the Pacific Seas Aquarium at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

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Keeper tour Jeep with moose
Daily openings coming March 1, plus Northwest Trek tours

Feb. 13, 2019: Daily openings are coming soon to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Plus, the popular premier Keeper Adventure Tours will soon resume at Northwest Trek, and an all-new Photo Tour program for youths is nearly ready for its debut.

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Faces in Baja Bay aquarium
Community invited to Pacific Seas Aquarium Celebration

Feb. 12, 2019: Sea turtles. Art-making. Scientists. For the entire month of April, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium will celebrate its new Pacific Seas Aquarium, home to green sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, eagle rays and hundreds of other sea creatures. And the zoo is inviting the whole community to join in.

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Father and son with hammerhead at Baja Bay

Attendance records smashed in 2018 at Zoo and Northwest Trek

Jan. 8, 2019: In 2018, 820,776 guests walked through the turnstiles during 2018, the largest such total in Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s 113-year history. Coupled with the 222,294 guests who visited Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, that added up to over 1 million visitors for the sister zoos.

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Outer loop Five Mile Drive and Northwest Trek closed due to wind damage

Jan. 6, 2019: The Outer Loop of Five Mile Drive in Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park will be closed all day today due to trees that fell during last night’s fierce windstorm. Northwest Trek Wildlife Park near Eatonville will be closed all day today due to a wind-related power outage.

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Moea the sea otter

Rescued Southern sea otter Moea makes her debut

Jan. 3, 2019: A 10-year-old Southern sea otter who was rescued and rehabilitated at Monterey Bay Aquarium has joined the “raft” of sea otters at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

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Zoolights at 30: Bigger, brighter and a holiday season must-see

Nov. 20, 2018: Zoolights began in 1988 with a big dream, a spark of ingenuity and several thousand incandescent lights. This year the region’s longest-running lights extravaganza is bigger and brighter than ever.

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hammerhead shark swimming l

Ocean Friendly Restaurants act to save the sea

Nov. 19, 2018: Twenty South Sound restaurants have committed to protecting the ocean and its creatures from plastic pollution, overfishing and the effects of climate change – and the number is growing, thanks to the Ocean Friendly Restaurants campaign.

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 zoolights scout nightScout Night at Zoolights brings tons of fun

Nov. 16, 2018: All Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Camp Fire members and their families and friends get into the longest-running, best-loved holiday lights extravaganza in the Puget Sound region for just $9 each on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

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zoolights family fourMilitary Nights at Zoolights

Nov. 16, 2018: In honor of their service, all United States armed forces veterans score a great Zoolights discount on tickets, food and items purchased in the gift shop on eight Military Nights during November and December.

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zoolights family four

Zoolights tickets now on sale for 30th anniversary

Nov. 1, 2019: Tickets are now on sale for the 30th Anniversary Edition of Zoolights, the Puget Sound region’s longest-running and most-loved holiday lights display. Zoolights runs from 5 to 9 p.m. nightly Nov. 23.-Jan. 6 ( except Dec. 24).

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We’re expecting a tapir calf!

Oct. 18, 2018: Quick. What looks like a little brown-and-white watermelon and is utterly adorable? That would be a Malayan tapir calf, and the first one ever at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is expected next summer.

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