Skip to main content

Whoo-hoo - it's time for Zoo Boo!

Pumpkins, candy and festival decor will haunt the Zoo Oct. 12-13


Tacoma, Wash. – Break out the costumes and pumpkins. It’s Zoo Boo time!

zoo boo tiger pumpkinParents, kids, animals and zoo staff all love Zoo Boo (Oct. 12-13), the annual fall-themed celebration at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

Visitors can come in costume for $2 off general admission, and trick-or-treat for candy, bookmarks, temporary tattoos and more at fun activity stations around the zoo – think skull ID, spooky trivia and guessing the pumpkin weight.

Candy handed out during Zoo Boo is screened to ensure that if it contains palm oil, that particular ingredient is sustainably produced. Palm oil produced through sustainable practices protects Asian rainforest habitat for species like Sumatran tigers and siamangs.

Four Sumatran tigers and two siamangs are among the many animals that have homes in the zoo’s Asian Forest Sanctuary habitat.

Zoo staff love getting creative at decorating their exhibit areas, vying for the famed staff trophy. Guests may vote for their favorite decoration – this year with a retro “Creature Feature” theme.

And Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium animals always seem eager to receive pumpkins as special enrichments to their diets. Throughout the weekend zoo staff will give tigers, sea turtles, penguins, meerkats and more a wealth of the orange gourds to chomp, stomp and roll around – or just crawl into. Enrichments stimulate natural behaviors for animals, increasing mental and physical health or adding interest to their diets.

Our 8,500-lb Asian elephants Suki and Hanako will get special giant pumpkins to stomp, donated by local growers. Polar bears Boris and Blizzard won’t chow down on pumpkins, but they will receive special icy treats – just the thing on a cool fall day. Sea otters and puffins will also receive icy enrichments. And Zoo guests can take part in a costume parade led by Herald the dog, star of the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater, immediately after the 12pm Close Encounter.

Girl in skeleton costume with goat at Zoo BooACTIVITIES 10 A.M. – 4 P.M.
  • Guess the Pumpkin Weight: From small to giant.
  • Face Painting (for a fee): Offered by Northwest Trading Company.
  • Pumpkin Carving (Sun.): Watch as pumpkin carver Patrick Cully carves a giant pumpkin!
  • Zoo Society: Take a treat, enter a raffle, and learn more about the Zoo Society.
  • Weird and Wacky Trivia: Use your nifty noggin to answer these weird and wacky trivia questions.
  • AAZK Photo Op: Take your photo with our costumed polar bear mascot ($5 donation).
  • All About Skulls: Identify the animal the skulls belong to.
  • Spider Web Toss: Test your skills at this festive tossing game.
  • Bat Puppets: Create a new bat friend to bring home with you.
  • Bump in the Night: Ever wondered “what was that animal sound?” Here’s a chance to find out.

10 a.m. Watch muskox enjoy giant pumpkins
11 a.m. See sea otters explore icy treats
11 a.m. South Pacific Aquarium: Outer Reef sharks will receive a carved pumpkin stuffed with seafood (Sat.), Lagoon Feed (Sun.)
11:30 a.m. Watch polar bears nibble on pumpkin ice treats
12 p.m. Meet some of the stars at the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater, then follow Herald the dog on a costume parade
12:30 p.m. See a tiger devour pumpkin treats and whipped cream
12:30 p.m. Watch penguins play with pumpkins (Sat.)
1 p.m. Elephants will get giant pumpkin treats to smash and play with
2 p.m. Join the Keeper Chat as the American red wolf pups celebrate their first Zoo Boo!
2 p.m. Puffins and murres get pumpkins, leafy browse or icy treats (Sat.)
2 pm. Get up close with creepy, crawly bugs in the Discovery Hut
2:30 p.m. See meerkats receive festive items to play on
3 p.m. Meet a keeper at the marine mammal Keeper Chat
Various times: See other animals around the Asian Forest Sanctuary and Kids’ Zone receive special enrichments.

Zoo Boo is presented by BECU.

ZOO BOO HOURS: 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Oct. 12-13


Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, the Northwest’s only combined zoo and aquarium, practices and promotes responsible stewardship of the world’s resources. A member of the Metro Parks Tacoma family, the zoo creates a legacy of sustainability for future generations through education, conservation, research and recreational opportunities; it also embodies Metro Parks’ mission of creating healthy opportunities to play, learn and grow. The zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA). The Zoo Society, a 501(c)(3) organization, is an instrumental partner in the conservation, animal-welfare and education initiatives.

Media Contact

Whitney DalBalcon: 253-404-3637; 253-278-6343;