Our Tacoma adventure began at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. The only combined zoo and aquarium in the Pacific Northwest attracts 700,000 visitors annually, so definitely a popular attraction. Set along Puget Sound and surrounded by views of the Olympia Mountains, the waterfront and (if you are lucky) Mt. Rainier, the zoo's surroundings are particularly inviting and were certainly spectacular on a sunny day!
|Jammin' with the Jellies|
|Swimming with the Sharks!|
|See the stingrays swim by your feet!|
|Sand dollars can be found along Washington's coast.|
Experiences available in the aquarium:
- Touch a Stingray
- Shark Dives (check with aquarium about requirements, registration and costs)
- Touch tank with other marine life
- Educational activities
|The arctic fox takes a moment to observe.|
The Rocky Shores section of the zoo was one of our favorites and is home to animals that would live on the coastline of Cape Flattery in Washington. We particularly enjoyed watching the puffins!
- Animal encounters
- Animal feedings
- Groom and feed a goat
- Ride a camel
Engagement in conservation:
Overall, we enjoyed the zoo and found it to be a great way to orient ourselves with the animals that live in Washington. I really appreciate that while the zoo did have resident animals from other regions, the focus truly is on regional animals and cooler climate animals. So, you will not find an entire African savanna replicated. Additionally, the zoo is heavily engaged in conservation---more so than many other zoos I have visited. The zoo lays out the importance of conservation in ways that not only allow us to appreciate the strides the zoo has made but also showed how everyone can help. I love that the zoo not only introduces a variety of wildlife but also empowers families to help!
The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is located within Point Defiance Park which provides a variety of natural oases for families. A delightful place to explore while you are in the area.
- Gardens of Point Defiance Park
- Stunning Five Mile Drive with amazing vistas, hiking trails and more
- Owen Beach where there is a potential to see seals
- Fort Nisqually Living History Museum where you can learn what it was like to live in the 1850's at this Hudson's Bay Trading Post.
**Thank you to Travel Tacoma for hosting our visit! Complimentary admission was provided to bring you this review!