Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium

The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is one of Tacoma's most popular attractions. Visitors and residents love to check out the animal exhibits, which include polar bears, sharks, tigers, meerkat, lemurs, and otters.

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Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium Visitor Information

Polar Bear shows off at Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma
Washington State Tourism/Jim Poth

In addition to watching the animals and their antics, there are other options for learning and fun at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

  • Marine Discovery Center
    Touch tanks and interpretive exhibits covering the Puget Sound ecosystem.
  • Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater
    Animal programs in an open-air theater with both covered and hillside seating.
  • Animal Encounters
    Zoo keepers share information at exhibits throughout the day.
  • Kids' Zone
    Child-friendly combination of animal exhibits, climbing and play areas, and conservation activities.
  • Paul Titus Antique Carousel
    Take a ride on this historic 1917 carousel.

Events at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

A number of special events are held at the zoo during the year, including:

  • Zoolights - colorful lights and decorations make the zoo a festive family experience during the Christmas holiday season
  • Zoo Boo - mid-October Halloween-themed fun with indoor and outdoor activities, costumes encouraged

Some areas of the zoo are also available for private parties and events.

Food & Drink the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

What would a visit to the zoo be without a picnic or some tasty snacks? Here are your options at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

  • Picnicking - there are several areas where you can spread out with your friends and family, relax, and enjoy a meal, including the Red Wolf or Asian Forest picnic areas or one of the picnic lawns.
  • Cafes - sandwiches, burgers, and other fast foods are available at the Plaza Cafe, the Rocky Shores Cafe, or the Pearl Street Sea Grille.

Facilities & Services at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

The following facilities and services are available at the zoo for your safety and comfort.

  • free parking
  • first aid stations
  • rentals of such items as wheelchairs, scooters, umbrellas, and strollers
  • lockers (fee)
  • gift shop
  • educational programs for kids and families

Where is the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is located within Point Defiance Park, a Tacoma city park that spreads over 700-plus acres.
5400 North Pearl Street·
Tacoma, Washington 98407
(253) 591-5337
http://www.pdza.org/

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What Animals Can I See at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Sea Otter at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma Washington
Getty Images/Ed Reschke

You'll find creatures from the Pacific Northwest and around the Pacific Rim. The Zoo & Aquarium is open year round. Here is a list of some of the animals you'll see:

Asian Forest Sanctuary
A bamboo forest environment where exotic animals rotate from one exhibit to another.

  • Sumatran tigers
  • white-Cheeked gibbons
  • siamangs (primate)
  • Malayan Tapir
  • anoa (small Asian buffalo)
  • crested porcupines
  • Tragopan pheasants
  • Asian small-clawed otters

Rocky Shores
Native creatures in an environment that simulates Washington's ocean coast.

  • harbor seal
  • pacific walrus
  • sea otter
  • tufted puffin

Arctic Tundra
An exhibit featuring mammals found on the Alaska tundra.

  • Arctic fox 
  • muskox
  • polar bears
  • reindeer

Animal Avenue
Animal exhibits with a focus on learning about an animal’s place in the world through families, homes, and communities.

  • meerkat
  • lemurs
  • mole rat
  • spiders and tarantula
  • snakes
  • tortoise
  • frogs and toads
  • insects

Kids' Zone
Child-friendly combination of animal exhibits, climbing and play areas, and conservation activities.

  • goats
  • sheep
  • reptiles

Aquarium
Point Defiance's aquariums feature creatures from the North and South Pacific.

  • seahorses
  • sharks
  • tropical fish
  • octopus
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