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Zoo News

Tag: aquarium

Jul 11, 2020

Sharks and more sharks. Dive in.
Free with admission. July 11-12

Oct 25, 2019

Just when you thought it was safe to go into the zoo, we bring you – Halloween in the Aquarium! Arms covered with suckers. Backs covered with eyes. Lumpsuckers, tentacles, vacuum mouths and just plain scary faces. (Plus a white crab nicknamed “Casper.”) If you’re looking for weird, cool or slightly icky, our Pacific Seas … Continued

May 06, 2019

UPDATE: Now over. Thanks for visiting! Q: Where in the world would you find an elephant, a sea turtle and an axolotl all together? A: In Species in the Sand, the new sand sculpture this summer at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium! Beginning mid-May, our sculpting team led by Tacoma native Sue McGrew will return … Continued

Apr 24, 2019

It’s magical enough to stand inside the Pacific Seas Aquarium and gaze at shimmering scales, cruising sea turtles or impossibly long wolf eels. But with x-ray vision, a whole new underwater world reveals itself. Thanks to our veterinary team, who regularly take radiographs of our Pacific Seas Aquarium animals to check on their health and … Continued

Apr 17, 2019

UPDATE: May 1, 2019 We did it! We made 3,600 paper turtles, glueing them onto ten blue silk “waves” to create a cascading spiral of ocean beauty in the Pacific Seas Aquarium. And we raised $10,068 for ocean conservation, thanks to the Ocean Art Challenge sponsored by the Bezos Family Foundation, and all the hundreds … Continued

Apr 08, 2019

Aquarist Mikiko Williams, clad in a black wetsuit, stood in the Japanese Spider Crab habitat at the Pacific Seas Aquarium, reached down, gently picked up an animal that weighed about 8 pounds and hoisted it up and out of the water. It was just after 8:30 a.m., the Zoo would open in an hour, and … Continued

Mar 27, 2019

In a corridor surrounded by pipes, tanks and equipment, three women crouch over a tub. One – an intern veterinarian – carefully handles a Q-tip swab. The second – a veterinarian – readies a microscope slide. The third – an aquarist – has her gloved hands submerged, gently holding a china rockfish. A fourth aquarist … Continued

Jan 30, 2019

Ocean Voices Speaker Series As part of the Pacific Seas Aquarium Community Celebration, every Tuesday evening this April we’re gathering the best local scientists and ocean folks we can find for a dynamic speaker series at venues around Tacoma. Come listen, learn and be inspired to protect our ocean. All events are free.   April … Continued

Dec 18, 2018

Playing with an octopus isn’t in everyone’s job description. But for aquarium staff Paige Gutierrez and Tai Fripp, it’s all part of caring for Ozzie, the giant Pacific octopus inside the Pacific Seas Aquarium at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Why? Because an octopus is curious – and if an aquarist is cleaning her habitat, … Continued

Dec 13, 2018

In clear, blue Baja Bay, three scuba divers are drifting alongside eagle rays and brightly-colored fish. They’re moving slowly, and unlike most divers in tropical waters, they’re not gazing admiringly at the animals around them. Because these divers are aquarists at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – and they’re hard at work. “We clean, we … Continued

Oct 04, 2018

It’s more than just a play of light. Wander down the ramps of the new Pacific Seas Aquarium, and you’ll pass through shimmers of colored light. You’re immersed in their play and flicker, as if swimming through a sunlit lagoon. It’s art – the light installation “Shimmer,” by California artist Gordon Huether – but the … Continued

Sep 26, 2018

Animal care aide Jordan Jirik lies flat on her stomach, her head hanging over the top of Baja Bay’s 280,000-gallon habitat. Below her, five hungry spotted eagle rays swim eagerly up to a large black sign with a big white X emblazoned on it. It’s their feeding-station target. And when it appears in the water, … Continued

Sep 11, 2018

Two dozen necks crane up, up, up, eyes riveted on the scene above, as four hammerhead sharks cruise overhead. Sunny the sea turtle joins the scene, swimming unhurriedly by and then diving deeper into his home. Suddenly, two eagle rays “fly” overhead, their pectoral fins gently flapping up and down to propel them through the … Continued

Aug 28, 2018

“Do you need more padding?” Kait Rhoads is standing, hands on hips, near a tentacled lump swathed in bubble wrap. Four men hover, poised to act. As one micro-adjusts a padding blanket on a lift, the others set hands on the bubble wrap. “Ready? One, two, three, up!” With two weeks to go until the … Continued

Aug 08, 2018

Already, glorious lion’s mane jellyfish swim beautifully against a bright blue backdrop in the Jelly Gallery of the Pacific Seas Aquarium. They are mesmerizing. Their gelatinous, umbrella-shaped bells move water in and out, tentacles trailing below, as they move majestically through their watery space. The countdown is on. There are just 30 days until the … Continued

Jul 16, 2018

It was almost as if they knew it was moving day. Nearly 100 bright red, bigscale soldierfish splashed in their behind-the-scenes pool in the old North Pacific Aquarium, so energetic they threw water up and out of the net that covered their temporary home. “They know our blue shirts,” said Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium … Continued

Jun 22, 2018

In a corner of the Pacific Seas Aquarium, Maria Jost is putting up a poster. With guest engagement coordinator Amy Hale holding up one corner on a stepladder, Jost surveys the big paper proof for size and fit. Spotlit, the corner is a tiny island of human activity in an otherwise-underwater room: teal-swept walls, rock-edged … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

In Kait Rhoads’ Seattle studio, four people are making a jellyfish. Focusing intently, they thread glass circles onto long steel tentacles, weaving copper wire in and out to keep the circles in place. Even with light floating through the big windows and art and plants everywhere, it’s a tedious job. But the atmosphere’s upbeat. Rhoads’ … Continued

Jun 13, 2018

Now up all summer long! International sand sculptor Sue McGrew and her team have created a mammoth sand ocean scene on our Hub lawn! Sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, eagle rays, fish, jellyfish – all the animals coming soon to our brand-new Pacific Seas Aquarium are here, sculpted in sand.   Learn from the pros Sue’s … Continued

Jun 12, 2018

  The North Pacific Aquarium was built to replace the aging 1940 aquarium, a wooden building down on the waterfront that was rusting, rotting and leaking. Early ideas included moving it to the park’s “bus station” (now the Pagoda), but by 1961 the Park Board decided to build a new one inside the zoo complex, where the … Continued

Jun 12, 2018

Through four years of dreaming, mentoring staff, caring for animals and watching a building rise, Neil Allen has kept one vision in sight for the Pacific Seas Aquarium, coming late summer to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. “There’s nothing like seeing little kids running up, pressing their noses against the glass and saying, ‘Wow,’ ” … Continued

Jun 12, 2018

Sunny and Azul, the green sea turtles waiting patiently for their new home in the aquarium’s Baja Bay exhibit, passed their first physical wellness exam this month with flying colors – and got a treat as a reward for being good patients. Watch the video here.

Jun 12, 2018

Jan. 24, 2018 It’s beginning to look a lot like an aquarium over there now. Visitors to the zoo see a high roofline; people passing by on Five Mile Drive see fish scale facades, window insets and the space for our glass artwork. The crane is gone, and the tanks have come, including the enormous … Continued

Jun 12, 2018

Sept. 22, 2017 Azul is a diva, but curious. Sunny’s more a chill kinda guy. But aquarist Melissa Bishop loves both of the green sea turtles that just arrived at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – and she has plenty of time to get to know them before they move into their big Baja Bay … Continued

Jun 12, 2018

Aug. 16, 2017 It had all the complex choreography of a ballet. Last Friday, four scalloped hammerhead sharks and two spotted eagle rays arrived at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. They’d been flown in specially-built tanks all the way from Hawaii. They’d been carefully trucked down from SeaTac airport. And then, as dusk settled over … Continued

Jun 12, 2018

Wondering what all those concrete walls are going to become in the new aquarium? Here’s our walk-through guide. 1. You’ll enter just downhill from the path to Rocky Shores. 2. First, you’ll walk by a tidal surge tank, with Northwest animals like sea urchins. 3. In the top gallery you’ll catch an eye-level glimpse of … Continued