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Sea turtles get health exams

It’s time to shell-ebrate! Both the Pacific Seas Aquarium and South Pacific Aquarium are reopening and all three sea turtles Bruno, Sunny and Azul are “turtle-y” healthy and will be out swimming in the Baja Bay habitat to welcome you back!

While our aquariums were temporarily closed to keep staff and guests safe, our aquatic animals continued to receive the same high-level of care they always have from our dedicated team of aquarists and extraordinary veterinary staff.

Recently, the three sea turtles underwent routine wellness exams, including x-rays, blood draws to screen for infection and an examination of the eyes, mouth and carapace (shell). Staff covered each turtle’s eyes with a blanket to help keep them calm. Watch the video below to get a behind-the-scenes look at their check-ups!


“All three sea turtles are in excellent health,” said Zoo head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf.

Staff aquarist Melissa Bishop says she’s excited the aquariums are reopening and guests will have more opportunities to see Atlantic green sea turtle Bruno, who arrived at the zoo just before COVID-19 arrived in Seattle.  Because of the pandemic, guests were only able to see him in the Pacific Seas Aquarium for a few months over the summer, when aquariums were open at a limited capacity.

Bishop says that in the past year Bruno has been at Point Defiance Zoo, he’s “really come out of his shell.” Not literally speaking, of course.

“He was very shy when he first arrived, but you can tell he’s now much more comfortable around the other sea turtles,” said Bishop.

Even so, Bruno seems to like his independence.

“The other morning, brothers Sunny and Azul were sleeping with their heads together and it was adorable. And Bruno was doing his own thing on the other end of the habitat,” said Bishop.

Bruno also enjoys rubbing his shell on a floating PVC square that keepers made for him.

“All three of the sea turtles have always been spoiled, whether the aquariums are open or closed,” said Bishop. “No matter what, they still get lots of special treats, enrichments and shell scratches from their keepers.”

Bishop also says that zoo guests will be amazed to see how the hammerhead sharks have changed.

“They’ve grown so much,” said Bishop. “They don’t look like little sharks anymore!”

hammerhead swims in baja bay
Guests will be amazed to see how much the hammerhead sharks have grown over the last few months.

Both the Pacific Seas Aquarium and South Pacific Aquarium reopen Friday, March 5! Book your timed online tickets now.