The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is the only one of its kind in the Pacific Northwest Region. Originally built as separate entities, the zoo and aquarium were combined into one location in the 1960’s. Situated in Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park, the zoo and aquarium overlook the beautiful Puget Sound and take in views of Vashon Island across the way.
Asian Forest Sanctuary:
From sharks to sea turtles, the Pacific Seas Aquarium has one of the largest varieties of sea animals in the Pacific Northwest. The underwater world of the Puget Sound is brought to life in the Northwest Waters portion of the aquarium. Some sealife included here are salmon, sturgeon, anemones, and jellyfish. In just a short walk, guests can travel from the cold-water of the Northwest to the warm waters of Baja Bay. In this warm-water exhibit, hammerhead sharks swim by, spotted eagle rays float around, and a plethora of tropical fish fill the waters.
Aside from the plethora of zoo and aquarium exhibits, Point Defiance is host to many exciting shows and interactive experiences.
Daily aquarium experiences include Dive Talk and the Tidal Touch Zone. During Dive Talk, scuba divers go throughout the tank and teach viewers more about the sea life that resides in the Northwest Waters. The Tidal Touch Zone is a tide pool filled with diverse creatures that can be both viewed and touched! Kids and adults can have hands-on experience as they learn about the tide pool life.
Throughout the different zoo exhibits, zookeepers give daily educational talks to help the guests understand more about the animals within. These “Keeper Chats” allow guests to ask questions and hear exclusive stories about the zoo animals and their habitats.
Two areas that allow hands-on experiences within the zoo are the goat encounter and budgie buddies. The goat encounter gives guests the opportunity to groom, feed, and make friends with a goat! Goat feed is available for purchase within the enclosure. The budgie buddies aviary is the home to a flock of beautifully colored Australian budgies. These fun and chatty birds will be buddies with friends that bring them a seed stick (available for purchase).
The zoo also has a beautiful outdoor amphitheater where educational shows are held daily. Zookeepers will bring animals to the stage to teach their audience fun facts. These shows are usually held several times per day so that everyone has a chance to attend.
Tacoma is such a charming city with so much to offer for all ages. The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium is a great example of indoor and outdoor fun for the whole family. If you are looking for other great places to visit with family, friends, or on your own, make sure to check out the Tacoma Museum of Glass or the Children’s Museum of Tacoma.