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Love at the Zoo

February 10 - 11, 2024
9:00AM - 3:00PM
Show your love for our furry, feathered, and finned friends by joining us for Love at the Zoo! Bring Valentines and find hidden hearts throughout the weekend. Love at the Zoo is free for members.

Animal Love

Feb. 10-11
Feel the love
Watch animals enjoy Valentine-themed enrichments like heart-shaped ice treats, bamboo hearts, whipped cream, watermelon, and more!
Hearts Galore
Do the "Heart Hunt"
Who loves animals? Walk the Zoo to spot 12 big heart cut-outs, each with a QR code unlocking a secret web page full of cute animal pics, videos and fun facts! Look for lovely photos ops and decorations scattered throughout the Zoo.
Zoo-themed Valentines
At the event & free e-cards
Want to say "I Love You" in a furry special way? Send a Valentine with an animal design and cute pun! Save and print, or send a free e-card. Or, make one in our plaza during Love at the Zoo! Guests are invited to bring a paper Valentine from home or make one at our Valentine station. Just drop them into our specially made Valentine mailboxes.
Animal Valentines

Valentine Treats

Love at the Zoo Keeper Chats & Animal Enrichments
9amAsian Forest SanctuaryWatch animals enjoy Bamboo Hearts at Exhibit 4 (Tapirs on Saturday, Anoa on Sunday)
10:15amRocky ShoresSee puffins exploring a Kissing Booth with enticing hearts made of krill
11amPacific Seas AquariumSee California sheepshead, Buddy, receive a heart shaped enrichment in the Kelp Forest
11amAsian Forest SanctuaryKeeper Chat & heart-shaped enrichments for one of our tigers
11:30amArctic TundraWatch muskoxen enjoy heart-shaped watermelon
11:30amArctic TundraPolar Bear Keeper Chat and watch bears receive fish valentines
12pmWild Wonders Outdoor TheaterValentine Close Encounters with some of our lovely animals and Rocket in a tuxedo
12pmAsian Forest SanctuaryWatch otters play with paper hearts & confetti in Exhibit 5
12:30pmRocky ShoresKeeper Chat and watch marine mammals enjoy special valentines
12:45pmAsian Forest SanctuaryWatch clouded leopards enjoy meat-jello hearts
1pmElephant BarnKeeper chat and watch Suki enjoy watermelon & bamboo heart treats
1:30pmPacific Seas AquariumSunday Only: Dive Talk at Northwest Waters
1:45pmWild Wonders Exercise YardWatch skunks explore puzzle feeders
2pmRed Wolf WoodsKeeper Chat and learn why it's important for red wolves to breed as a critically endangered species
Other Valentines and heart-shaped enrichments will happen at unscheduled times throughout the weekend. Enrichments are a big part of caring for animals. Learn how our keepers create enrichments and see if you can match the toys to the animal at the Love at the Zoo Enrichment Toy Bin.

Animal Stories

Tacoma Students Create “Jurassic Zoo and Aquarium”

During Tacoma Public Schools January mini-term, students at the Science and Math Institute (SAMi), School of the Arts (SOTA), and Industrial Design Engineering and Art (IDEA) choose one class from a variety of exciting, hands-on courses to deep-dive into all month long. You’ll see students enthusiastic and eager to learn on any given day. Students in the “Jurassic Zoo and Aquarium” class studied the habitats at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park to re-create the famous…

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Sumatran Tiger Gets A Root Canal

Point Defiance Zoo’s 12-year-old resident male tiger, Sanjiv, recently had a dentist appointment to fix a fractured tooth. Dr. Alice Sievers, a board-certified veterinary dentist and one of only 250 veterinary dental specialists in the world, volunteered her time with veterinary assistant Sharon Ghormley and veterinary technician Taylor Parker, all from Vancouver-based Pet Dental Specialists, a clinic primarily focused on treating dogs and cats with dental issues. After taking radiographs and deciding the best plan of action, Dr. Sievers performed…

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Best Photos of 2023

As another year ends, we reflect on the special moments Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium had the privilege of being a part of in 2023. We welcomed polar bear sisters Laerke and Astra to the Pacific Northwest, explored the shore with our community, and muskox Charlotte gave birth to Willow, among so many other moments. Enjoy some of our favorite photos from this year, taken by staff photographer Katie Cotterill. Astra shakes off in her pool.   Laerke submerges in…

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The perfect Valentine
Looking for the perfect Valentine? Come get a "hug" from a sea urchin! Take this behind-the-scenes tour of the Pacific Seas Aquarium.