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Botanical Garden Tours

Take a Tour

Cacti. Bamboo. Leaves, trunks, flowers. Did you know the Zoo is also a botanical garden, home to hundreds of varieties of plants from decorative to functional? Zookeepers use some of the plant growth, such as banana leaves and bamboo shoots, as food or skill-building tools for the animals. The plants also create a stunning botanical paradise.

Take a botanical garden tour with our horticulturalist Bryon Jones and be awed by the power of plants at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

When: 10 am on the first Sunday of every month

Where: Meet at Pacific Rim Plaza, just inside Zoo front gate

Cost: Free with admission or membership

Private tours: Bring a group for your very own private tour (fee applies). Booking required.

Garden Tours 2024 Schedule

Jan. 7

Focus on trees, big and small! They provide shade, shelter and food, and shape the landscape.

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Feb. 4

Where do garden plants come from? All over the world! Learn about our plants’ journeys.

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March 3

Get up close with the important stuff that grows our plants – soil – and the environment it creates.

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April 7

Plants drive the planet’s ecosystems. Learn about the Zoo’s endangered and rare plants

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Living Fossils
May 5

What do ferns, mosses, cycads and ginkoes have in common? Yep, we’re talking plants: living fossils that have been around since the time of the dinosaurs.

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June 2

Explore plants that have adapted to dry landscapes like that of Baja California – and how they help us save water.

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July 7

Find out how to attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds in your own gardens.

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Plants Gone Wild
Aug. 4

Take a tour of vibrant, leafy plants that evoke a sense of being in the jungle or a tropical paradise. Bamboo, banana, perennials, evergreens – meet the tropical plants that thrive in our Northwest climate.

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Sept. 1

We reuse and recycle our plants! Learn about plants that zoo animals eat or play with, from willow to bamboo, banana to kiwi.

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Savage Garden
Oct. 6

Thorns, spikes and zig-zagging stems, oh my! Find all the eerie plant species around the Zoo.

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Sensory Garden
Nov. 3

Tangy mint smell. Velvety flowers. Giant sandpapery leaves. Visit a garden with ALL of your senses, and you experience the plant world in a totally different way.

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Create a Bamboo Paradise
Dec. 1

The Asian Forest Sanctuary is home to many varieties of bamboo, elegant and tasty for animals. Discover how you can create this paradise at home!

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Bring a group And dive into the landscape.

Gardens Galore

Find plants you may see in your backyard, or rare and endangered plants that require more attention and care. Read about where you can find these plants here!

Read the Story

Want to spend even more time with our plants? Book a private Zoo For You Botanical Tour! During this hour-long tour, you’ll spend time getting to know the Zoo’s more rooted residents with a member of our horticulture team.

Zoo For You Tours