From Nov. 24-Jan. 1 visitors can experience Zoolights, a magical holiday tradition now 30 years old. See old favorites (the Flame Tree, a giant tiger head) and new lights (Mt. Rainier atop the North Pacific Aquarium, a sea of octopus, turtles and more on the lawn) in a display of over 650,000 brilliant, energy-efficient LED lights.
Ride a walrus on the carousel, ride a real camel, pet a goat, marvel at meerkats and gaze at slowly-swimming sharks – then warm up with hot chocolate in the café.
Prices: From free to $10. Pdza.org/zoolights
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, located in Tacoma’s beautiful 702-acre Point Defiance Park, is the Northwest’s only combined zoo and aquarium.
In the Asian Forest Sanctuary, you'll find exquisitely beautiful tigers, curious primates and a humble anoa. See clouded leopards prowl through their exhibit and watch the elephants come into the Elephant Barn every afternoon for their dinner.
The South Pacific Aquarium features 16 graceful sharks. There are massive sandbar, sand tiger, and nurse sharks to marvel at, plus smaller blacktip reef sharks and a Japanese wobbegong shark.
Adventurous visitors can sign up for Eye-to-Eye Shark Dives to get an incredible view of these sharks from inside the tank.
The Arctic Tundra and Rocky Shores exhibit areas feature iconic polar bears, massive walruses, playful sea otters, and snow-white Arctic foxes.
The Zoo offers a myriad of opportunities to get up close with animals. Small sharks and their cartilaginous cousins, stingrays, can be seen and touched in Stingray Cove. The Marine Discovery Center, with hands-on activities for kids of all ages, features interesting and colorful sea creatures in a large touch tank. And you can feed brightly colored Australian birds in the open-air, walk-through Budgie Buddies exhibit.
Daily live animal presentations offer chances to chat with animal keepers, observe animal training sessions, and get a closer look at interesting creatures from all around the Pacific Rim.
Special events throughout the year highlight certain animals and provide hands-on activities and crafts for the little ones. Check the event calendar at pdza.org to see what’s coming up next.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is a place to play, learn new things, and connect with amazing animals. Between animal watching, you can enjoy tasty treats at the Café, take a spin on the antique carousel, ride a camel, or let the kids romp in the Kids’ Zone play area. There’s always something new to see and do!