Skip to main content

Species in the Sand

This summer, another sand sculpture rises on the lawn.

Species in the Sand, sculpted by Tacoma native Sue McGrew and her team, highlights endangered species that live right here at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

NEW: Come see our new sand tapir mom and calf!

Sculpting Process

First - Compacting
Pack that sand down.
Sand sculpting begins with compacting the damp sand, a lot like you'd compact a new gravel path. As our crew compacts, they build plywood forms around the tiers of sand to hold it in place while the sculptors work.
Next - Sculpting
(It takes a team.)
Sue McGrew is our lead sculptor and a Tacoma native! But she'll have help from other local and national sculptors. The team began on May 17 - Endangered Species Day - working from the top down. (Read about it on our blog.)
Read the story
Finally - it's done!
Endangered species, sculpted in sand.
The sculpture is finished, including endangered species right here at the Zoo: elephant, anoa, tiger, lemurs and plants on the "land" side; sharks, turtles, puffins and frogs on the "water" side.
Come and play!
(Get sandy.)
There's something magical about sand - we all love to play with it! And at "Species in the Sand" we'll have sand play stations all summer long. Free sand sculpting workshops 11am & 2pm Sat-Sun through Sept. 1.
Buy Zoo tickets

Meet the species

Asian elephant
Sumatran tiger
Green Sea Turtle
Scalloped hammerhead shark
Sea otter
Clouded leopard
Red wolf
Malayan tapir
Radiated tortoise
Tufted puffin

How to help

Protect species.

Other endangered species in our sand sculpture (and Zoo) include axolotl, golden poison arrow frog and black-breasted leaf turtle, plus plants like the dawn redwood, monkey puzzle tree, Wollemi pine, tree echium and pitcher plant.

How can you help protect endangered species?