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Press releases

Recent Releases

zoolights crabZoolights is coming!

Sept. 23, 2020: 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.

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clouded leopard leaping

Zoo and Northwest Trek win AZA awards

Sept. 16, 2020: Point Defiance Zoo and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park have been recognized for conservation and research work with two awards from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.

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polar bear Boris
Beloved elderly polar bear Boris dies

Sept. 1, 2020: Elderly polar bear Boris was humanely euthanized at the Zoo today after significantly declining health. He will be very much missed.

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Eye-to-Eye Shark Dives Re-open!

Aug. 28, 2020: Eye-to-Eye Shark Dives are reopening at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, with new health and safety precautions for Phase 2 of Covid-19 restrictions.

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zebra shark
ZooQuarium Online Learning Launches

Aug. 28, 2020: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium launches ZooQuarium Online Learning, a fun, interactive, online lesson delivering key science concepts while learning about animals!

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boys feeding goatsNew Zoo For You Exclusive Animal Experiences

Aug. 17, 2020: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium to launch personalized Zoo For You animal experiences Groovy Goats and Pacific Seas Aquarium Behind-the-Scenes on Aug. 21.

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animal shoutout walrus
Send an Animal Shoutout video greeting

Aug. 6, 2020: Animal lovers can now share a special message with a wild touch, all from the comfort of your own couch! Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park are now offering “Animal Shoutouts.”

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Muskox calf Trebek with mom Charlotte.

This – Is – Trebek!

July 8, 2020: Fans have voted, and the winning name for our baby muskox is Trebek, after the actor and “Jeopardy” gameshow host Alex Trebek.

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muskox calf head butting rock
Help name our baby muskox

June 30, 2020: It’s official – our baby muskox calf is a boy, and now his fans get to vote on his name. Choose from a slate of keeper-suggested names in an online survey now through July 8.

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families distancing at aquarium
Both aquariums reopen July 1

June 29, 2020: The Pacific Seas Aquarium and South Pacific Aquarium are reopening July 1 at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium with new protocols to keep guests safe and healthy.

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penguin chick in handsTwo Magellanic penguin chicks hatch at Zoo

June 17, 2020: Two new Magellanic penguin chicks hatched at the zoo on May 22 and 23, and are healthy and growing well, says head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf. They’ll be moved behind the scenes in a few weeks.

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muskox calf and mom faces
It’s a boy! Or maybe a girl!

June 9, 2020: Early Sunday morning at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Charlotte, a 621-pound muskox, gave birth to a calf, just as the Zoo was preparing to announce its June 18 reopening.

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zoo front gateIt’s reopening time!

June 9, 2020: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park will reopen to the public June 18, with timed online tickets and a new, safe experience.

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Aged sea lion Chinook dies

Feb. 27, 2020: Chinook, an aged California sea lion, died today at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium following a sudden decline in his health. Head veterinarian, Dr. Karen Wolf, said Chinook had been showing signs of lethargy and a loss of appetite.

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hanako elephant trunk splashHanako, elderly elephant, is humanely euthanized

Feb. 16, 2020: Hanako, a beloved elderly Asian elephant who came to Tacoma two decades ago, was humanely euthanized at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Saturday evening after a severe decline in her health over the past several weeks.

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muskox eating

Charlotte the muskox is expecting

Feb. 11, 2020: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has one more reason to celebrate muskoxen Charlotte and Hudson this Valentine’s Day: they are expecting a calf this summer.

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tiger in grass

Tiger Mohan humanely euthanized

Jan. 27, 2020: Mohan, a 15-year-old male Sumatran tiger who came to Tacoma in 2017, was humanely euthanized at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium on Saturday after a decline in his health over the last month.

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kids at turnstiles
Zoo smashes attendance record in 2019

Jan. 13, 2020: In 2019, 825,937 guests walked through the turnstiles, the largest total in Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s 114-year history. Combined with sister zoo Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, this meant more than 1 million visitors for the second consecutive year.

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Explore the ocean in virtual reality at the Zoo

Dec. 23, 2019: Stay dry while exploring our oceans underwater with Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s new virtual reality experience in the Pacific Seas Aquarium. Guests can choose to swim with humpbacks, come face to fin with sharks or even go in a mini-submarine.

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sarah oliver
New deputy director Sarah Oliver brings passion for people

Dec. 3, 2019: 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.

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two walruses on pool deck
Two orphaned walruses reunite at the Zoo

Nov. 15, 2019: They were rescued as orphans in the same week. And now, after seven years, they’ll be together again. Young male walruses Mitik and Pakak have arrived at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

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Hanako the elephant
Two elephants test positive for tuberculosis

Nov. 13, 2019: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s two elderly elephants, Hanako and Suki, have tested positive for tuberculosis, zoo officials announced today.

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elephant trunk
Safety stepped up as staff test positive for latent tuberculosis

Sept. 25, 2019: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium leaders are taking extra steps to ensure the health and safety of their staff, visitors and animals after some staff members who work with and around elephants tested positive for latent tuberculosis infection. There is no risk to the public, and no known active cases.

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carved ivory
Toss the Tusk and help protect wildlife

Sept. 25, 2019: Have any ivory carvings tucked away? A shark fin souvenir? Thanks to the Washington Animal Trafficking Act, those wildlife products are now illegal to sell in Washington state. Hand them over at Toss the Tusk from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Oct. 26 at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park.

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Burrowing owl in pumpkin
Whoo-hoo – it’s time for Zoo Boo!

Sept. 23, 2019: Break out the costumes and candy! Parents, kids, animals and zoo staff all love Zoo Boo (Oct. 12-13), the annual fall-themed celebration at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

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Bald eagle for Veterans Day WeekendFree admission for veterans on Veterans’ Appreciation Days

Sept. 17: U.S. military veterans are invited to enjoy the splendor of Northwest Trek Wildlife Park and the wonder of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium at no charge on Nov. 9, 10 and 11. Veterans’ immediate family members will receive half-off general admission at each zoo.

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zoolights howling wolfIt’s a Baby Animal Zoolights this year!

Sept. 17, 2019: It’s been a big year for baby animals at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – and now they’re coming to Zoolights! An LED tapir mom and calf, tamandua pup, beaver kit and eight red wolf pups will join the annual holiday lights display, brightening the Zoo and delighting guests with over 700,000 lights.

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