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Zoo News
Sep 21, 2021

Heavy as velvet, a bumblebee bounces over yellow coneflower petals. Next door a golden honeybee dives headfirst into a red salvia blossom to sip. And across the pathway, a hummingbird zips and chitters. The Nature Play Garden at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium might not be ready for human guests yet, but it’s buzzing – … Continued

Sep 08, 2021

Happy Howl-o-ween! Dress up like a cat (meow-lo-ween!), monkey, elephant or whatever your favorite animal is and then see that same real-life animal at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium during Zoo Boo weekend, Oct. 16-17. The annual fun, fall-themed weekend is always a hoot among parents, kids and Zoo staff. Even the animals get a … Continued

Jul 26, 2021

It’s the ultimate matchmaker job. Dr. Karen Goodrowe, general curator at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, has spent her career researching and guiding animal reproduction in zoos – particularly big cats like clouded leopards and tigers. Now she’s the coordinator for all three tiger Species Survival Plan® programs in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums … Continued

Jul 22, 2021

Zookeepers and the animals they love What’s the animal you feel most deeply inside? The one you connect with, love, relate to, share traits with? For National Zookeeper Week 2021, we asked our assistant curators that very same question. Then our incredible staff photographer Katie Cotterill took portraits of both keeper AND animal, superimposing them … Continued

Jul 19, 2021

What do you do if your 760-pound male muskox refuses to do what you ask him? Well, if you’re a zookeeper, you have other strategies in your pocket. For keeper Piper, who cares for muskoxen, clouded leopards and an elephant at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, it’s all in a day’s work. 7am Piper’s day … Continued

Jul 19, 2021

Two things make zookeeper life in the Asian Forest Sanctuary quite different from anywhere else at Point Defiance Zoo: lots of meat, and lots of doors. And in a typical day at work, keeper Sam handles both of them with ease – not to mention tigers, tapirs and porcupines. 7:30am In summer, Sam and her … Continued

Jul 16, 2021

It’s hard to describe the awe when you stand at the Baja Bay window in Point Defiance Zoo’s Pacific Seas Aquarium and watch spotted eagle rays swoop through blue water overhead. But Tyler, one of the zoo’s aquarists, gets an even more immersive experience: waist-deep in their 80-degree water, feeling velvety noses as they munch … Continued

Jul 16, 2021

Keeper Stephanie’s day involves quite a lot of fish – and shrimp, and clam, and squid. When you care for ten marine mammals and four flocks of seabirds in nine different pools, you do a lot of feeding – and cleaning too. But for keepers like Stephanie at Point Defiance Zoo’s Rocky Shores habitat, creativity … Continued

Jul 16, 2021

There are a lot of moving parts to being a zookeeper in the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – but training ambassador animals is a big one, says keeper Jessie. 7:30am A zookeeper’s day often begins with checking on animals, cleaning habitats and giving breakfast. The big difference at Wild … Continued

Jul 16, 2021

Summer sunlight dapples through Douglas firs. The air hums with insects, pierced by sharp raven calls. All else is quiet – and keeper Jamie climbs into the truck. Time to check up on 47 red wolves. 7:30am Most zookeepers don’t work all alone in a forest. Jamie, however, is a staff biologist for Point Defiance … Continued

Jul 13, 2021

Chef. Dietitian. Physical therapist. Hydrotherapist. Public speaker, cleaner, cricket-handler. When keeper Monica signed up to become a zookeeper, she knew it wouldn’t ever get boring – but caring for animals in Point Defiance Zoo’s Kids’ Zone took it to another level. 7:30am Kids’ Zone keeper days always start with a team meeting in the goat … Continued

Jun 16, 2021

Students from Tacoma School District’s Science and Math Institute (SAMI) recently helped shovel a truckload of sand into Blizzard the polar bear’s habitat. “The sand cools off Blizzard in the hot summer weather and is soft on his feet, too,” said Assistant Curator Sheriden. “Blizzard loves having fresh sand every year and we really appreciate … Continued

May 04, 2021

Go beyond the typical Mother’s Day gifts and give mom a memorable experience she can enjoy with the whole family this year. Swim with sharks, get up close to a moose or touch a jellyfish! She won’t soon forget these amazing experiences at Point Defiance Zoo and our sister zoo, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park! Swim … Continued

Mar 18, 2021

After a year plus of quarantine and a cold winter of being cooped up inside, many families are feeling the need to get outside and do fun activities together, safely! Here are 10 ideas for things to do over Spring Break, and they all follow the state’s current guidelines to keep your family healthy. Take … Continued

Mar 17, 2021

Since 1987, the City of Tacoma has honored over 200 outstanding local volunteers through its City of Destiny Awards program. This year, six volunteers from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium were chosen as 2021 City of Destiny Award recipients. Youth Volunteers In the “Youth Service” category, Zoo Senior Guides Enjoli Shaw and Logan Cornwell took … Continued

Dec 28, 2020

What a year this has been! From clouded leopard AI to a new muskox calf, from Zoolights to HeroRATs and everything in between, we’ve captured this year in our best photos of 2020.  

Dec 28, 2020

Everyone agrees: 2020 was a really tough year. Covid-19 turned our world upside down, and many of us knew loss. Our Zoo/Northwest Trek had to close for months, and reopen with completely new ways of doing everything. Like so many, we lost money, and had to say goodbye to many staff members. We lost beloved … Continued

Dec 02, 2020

Zoo youth volunteers love orcas. Orcas love raingardens. And gardens are outside. Put them all together and you have the perfect recipe for volunteering outside, staying safe during Covid-19 and helping save our southern resident orcas into the bargain. This October, youth volunteers from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium teamed up with local nonprofit groups … Continued

Nov 30, 2020

The bright side of a virtual field trip? You don’t get wet. It was raining hard at Northwest Trek one November morning as Wildlife Champions instructor Megan Soland peered into a video camera. Fellow instructor Liz Hines held an umbrella over her, getting soaked herself, and in front was keeper Wendi Mello, dripping wet but … Continued

Nov 04, 2020

The pandemic has reminded us about the importance of connecting with family, friends and loved ones. For the holidays this year, consider gifting those close to you something to experience together at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Each of these experiences has health protocols in mind, so you can ensure you’re gifting both a safe … Continued

Oct 20, 2020

Always wanted to go to Zoobilee? Now, everyone can – because The Zoo Society’s fabulous fundraising party is returning this year, transformed into an online event on Nov. 13. It’s absolutely free, complete with Zoom cocktails, livestreamed auction and virtual animal appearances. A 27-year Tacoma tradition, Zoobilee evolved to bring together leaders and philanthropists to … Continued

Oct 13, 2020

It’s National Veterinary Technician Week Oct. 11-17, and we’re celebrating our wonderful veterinary technicians with a virtual thank-you card. Keepers, curators and veterinarians all weighed in to thank our superhero vet techs Julie Lemon and Sara Dunleavy for all they do to care for animals and help staff: prepping for procedures, monitoring animal vitals and … Continued

Oct 02, 2020

Animals, Costumes and Fun at Point Defiance Zoo & Northwest Trek  It’s time to have some spooky fun while staying safe at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Both zoos are getting in the fall spirit, with pumpkin enrichment for animals and costumes encouraged for everyone in October! Whether you want … Continued

Sep 15, 2020

You could say the double bass is the walrus of the music world. Large, bottom-heavy, ungainly and prone to awkward blurting noises, it doesn’t win any beauty contests. It doesn’t star in glossy movies, and often gets laughs rather than admiration. But, like actual walruses, it’s also capable of a powerful grace – and a … Continued

Aug 14, 2020

Bentley stared into the distance, eyes half-closed in rapture. He leaned into the gentle strokes massaging his skin, and soaked up the sunlight. Then came the utter bliss of a scratch between his horns. It was day-spa time for goats at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium as Zander and Lincoln Musselman, along with mom Sylvia, … Continued

Jul 21, 2020

National Zookeeper Week takes place July 19-25 this year. The week is devoted to sharing the passion and dedication of keepers. Even though Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium was temporarily closed to the public to slow the spread of COVID-19, the keepers never took a pause. They are a dedicated group of people who work … Continued

Jul 17, 2020

July 18 is Global Women’s Dive Day, and we’re so proud of our women diver-aquarists here at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium! Marine biologists who each have countless dive hours here inside our Pacific Seas Aquarium (PSA) and South Pacific Aquarium (SPA), as well as around the world, these ladies lead their fields in animal … Continued

Apr 17, 2020

In honor of National Volunteer Week, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s employees thank the zoo’s irreplaceable volunteers for their time and energy all year-round. In 2019, 364 youth and adult volunteers at the zoo logged a total of 36,385 hours. “I appreciate all of our volunteers for their hard work and dedication to Point Defiance … Continued

Jan 27, 2020

For parents of teens who won’t clean their room, it might seem amazing that six 13- and 14-year-olds would willingly spend a freezing winter morning chopping vegetables. But for the lucky teens signed up for the Keeper for a Day experience at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, that was just one part of being a … Continued

Jan 27, 2020

When Gemma Duggins signed up for the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit in 2017, she wasn’t sure what to expect. A seventh-grade homeschooler at the time, she was passionate about protecting the ocean – but had never been in a group of young people who felt the same way. So when she arrived at Point Defiance … Continued