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Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium: A Safe Way to Get Out and Play

The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington has always been a summer mainstay for our children. We have been there so many times, you would think we would tire of it, but we never do. Instead, we began to miss our regular zoo trips this year.

When we heard that Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium opened, we jumped at the opportunity to go.

It is not business as usual for the zoo though. You must buy tickets online and they are operating at limited capacity with timed entry. This means that if you buy a ticket for 11 a.m. you must be at the gate 15 minutes prior and be ready to enter.

Tickets are $18 for anyone older than 13 and $14 for children age 3 to 12. Children two and under are free. As always, annual memberships are honored and available for purchase.

You’re required to wear a mask while in the zoo and they have plenty of hand sanitizer stations to help protect your health.

The zoo marks a path to follow and has little paws (spaced 6 feet apart) for areas where lines are required. Once you enter, you first go to the stingrays and sharks, then past the elephants and leopards wrapping around to the new aquarium, and on to the other side of the park.

The interior buildings were open but required a short wait to limit the number of people indoors. The only exhibits closed were the Budgies and Camels.

We were all SO excited to be back! The kids ran, the animals were showing off, and the ice cream tasted better than ever.  

What surprised us most was the level of activity of the red wolves. Usually, they are a hard bunch to nail down. It seems like almost all our visits we passed by and were unable to find the wolves, but they were out and active and I was surprised how many Red Wolves PDZA had.

Red Wolves are a species of Wolf unique to the United States with a native habitat that was predominately in the southeast. The Red Wolf Population had been whittled down to only 14 in the 1970s and by the 1980s became extinct in the wild. PDZA played an instrumental role in saving the species. Despite PDZA’s success at helping to reintroduce 120 wolves back into the wild, it is thought that only 14 Red Wolves currently remain in the wild due to the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s failure to enforce protections for the Red Wolves.

This is why visiting PDZA is important, by supporting them, you’re supporting restoring a species to its place in the world. PDZA is an AZA-accredited zoo. This means that they “meet the highest standards in animal care and welfare and provide a fun, safe and educational family experience.”

We highly recommend visiting this summer and supporting such a great organization!

Did You Know?

Click images to find out more!

The Clouded Leopard is one of the worlds most poached animals. They aren't considered a large cat or a small cat, in part because they can neither Roar or purr and are one of two cat species that can climb down a tree headfirst!
the Sumatran Tiger is native to Indonesia and the smallest of tigers. They can run upwards of 40 miles per hour and will travel distances in excess of 18 miles per day in search of food. There are more Sumatran Tigers in Captivity in the US than in the wild, but it is estimated that only 5 percent of those tigers are in AZA accredited zoos
The Magellanic Penguin is one of 18 species of penguin and is considered near threatened. The largest colony of Magallanic Penguins lives on the Argentinian Coastline and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015.
Puffins are nicknamed Sea Parrots. Puffins beaks change color throughout the year depending on the seasons. Puffins live around 20 years and spend most of their lives at sea.
The Sea Otter is heavy compared to other members of the weasel family, but tiny compared to other sea mammals. They are predators, but are considered one of the food sources for Great White Sharks. It's also one of the few mammals that uses tools to help it hunt and eat.

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Written by Heather Dembeck

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