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Zoo Love

Love is in the air at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium! There’s no concrete way to measure an animal’s love, but many animals at the zoo are coupled up or longtime companions and enjoy each other’s company.

Polar Bears

Galentine’s Day, a celebration of female friendship, is unofficially celebrated on Feb. 13, and it’s perfect for polar bear twin sisters Astra and Laerke!

Keepers say the three-year-old sisters enjoy spending time together and are often seen wrestling each other, and at other times they’re cuddling together.


Bromance, bro-etines (like galentines!), brother love. Whatever you want to call it, lar gibbon brothers Orion and Aries have it. The two can often be heard singing loudly in unison, a form of bonding for gibbons. They also swing together throughout the day and huddle with their backs to each other at night while they sleep.


Muskoxen Charlotte and Hudson live in the Arctic Tundra habitat and welcomed their calf, Willow, in September 2023. Charlotte and Hudson were paired together back in 2016 with hopes that they would eventually mate. Keepers say the two get along but live in separate habitats while mom and daughter bond.


The zoo’s two Malayan tapirs, Baku and Yuna, are best friends and have a breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for Malayan tapirs. The SSP looks at the genetic makeup of each prospective parent before recommending a pairing; this helps ensure the diversity of Malayan tapirs in North American zoos.

Yuna and Baku welcomed their firstborn, Kazu, in 2019. He was the first tapir calf born at the zoo in its 114-year history and now lives at another zoo.

Occasionally, guests can hear the tapirs making high-pitched squeals and ear-piercing whistles, especially when they’re excited by each other.

Feel the Love

Celebrate all Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s animals at Love at the Zoo. The animals will experience special Valentine-themed enrichments like heart-shaped ice.

See the enrichment schedule below:

  • 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday: California sheephead Buddy will receive a heart-shaped enrichment in the Kelp Forest in the Pacific Seas Aquarium
  • 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday: A Sumatran tiger will receive a heart-shaped enrichment.
  • 11:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday: Muskoxen will enjoy heart-shaped watermelon.
  • 11:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday: Polar bears will receive fishy valentines.
  • Noon Saturday and Sunday: Close encounters with animals at Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater, plus meet superstar dog Rocket in a tuxedo!
  • 12:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: Watch marine mammals enjoy special valentines.
  • 12:45 pm. Saturday and Sunday: Watch clouded leopards enjoy meat-jello hearts.
  • 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: See Suki the elephant enjoy watermelon and bamboo heart treats.
  • 1:30 p.m. Sunday: Attend a Northwest Waters Dive Talk.
  • 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: Learn why it’s essential for Red Wolves to breed as a critically endangered species.

Love at the Zoo is Feb. 10 and Feb. 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is free with admission to the zoo.