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“Small, for better and for worse” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Ranked #5 of 76 things to do in Tacoma
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Treat your family to a special day at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Where else can you see seahorses and sharks, peacocks and penguins, wolves and walrus, all in one place? The 29-acre Zoo is large enough to offer an awesome array of animals yet small enough to let you get really close to them. Our keepers often roam the grounds, taking animals on strolls so you can see them up close. Who knows? You might run into a lynx on your way to see the polar bears! Be sure to visit Kids Zone. This fanciful exhibit engages children in active learning through play. The focus is on fun, movement and learning what animals need to thrive.The breathtaking views of Puget Sound, Mount Rainier and the Olympic Mountains are free - and so is the parking. So what are you waiting for? Bring your family to see ours. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is open at 9:30 a.m. daily. Closing times vary. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is just minutes off of I-5 in beautiful Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, WA.
North Bend, Washington
Level Contributor
33 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Small, for better and for worse”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 12, 2014 via mobile

The bottom line is that my family and I had a good time at this zoo and aquarium. Zoo experiences can vary greatly depending on how active the critters are and for some reason we caught quite a few of them being really active. The dueling polar bears who wrestled and thrashed in the water for ten straight minutes were an awesome sight to see. No doubt, you get to see some big and exotic animals up close, but it may come at a price...your conscience. Now, I am not a member of PETA, nor am I one who is usually sensitive to the plight of animals in captivity, but some of the enclosures that get you so close to the action are painfully small. Yes, this place gave me a bad case of "zoo guilt." The penguin enclosure, the walrus pool, and the shark tank were particularly petite. The tiger enclosure and the arctic fox micro-apartment weren't much better. In a nut shell, this place gave me very mixed emotions. I saw some amazing things in a compact, easily navigated, and family friendly atmosphere, but I also left feeling like some of what I saw just wasn't very humane.

Visited April 2014
2 Thank tahoeshepherds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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726 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Level Contributor
51 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“A great little zoo for children!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 24, 2014 via mobile

Went with our small grandchildren and had a wonderful time in the children's portion! This zoo has a great play area for small children. It provides fantastic activities that connect the children with animals and their habitat.

Some suggestions to make this more affordable and enjoyable. Although the concession food is average to very good and includes varied options, the portions can be small and prices range from $10 to $13 for a meal. Also, we found that the food concession only had 2 infant chairs - not enough for all the kids that were there during spring break!

Save money and Bring your own lunch. We saw folks with young children who put down plastic (for wet grass) and blankets for picnics. Others ate their picnic lunches outside concession at tables.

They now charge for carrousel rides. ($1 for members and $1.50 for all others). This was once free with the $14 admission. There are lots of other things to do in zoo, so the carrousel can be easily bypassed without being missed by the children.

Great experience and have bought one year membership.

Visited March 2014
Thank Kenneth H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port Angeles, Washington
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Fun Activity”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 16, 2014

What a fun place to visit! There were plenty of animals to see - and staff seemed to be around to inform, educate and entertain you as it related to the animals you were seeing. We learned about the Chinese Otters (they are quick!) and we learned that it's the "closing" of the shell on the Aardvark that really hurts if your finger ends up in the way. We also learned that it's not ALL seastars that are suffering from the "melting" disease that is affecting so many of them in our area, and that they still aren't sure of what it could be. It was lots of fun for all!

Visited March 2014
1 Thank Roxi B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
65 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Zoo under lights”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 16, 2014

We went during the zoolights and was great experience. Better than the Bellevue botanical garden lights. Must visit for parents with children.

Visited December 2013
Thank SatishKumarSuthan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gig Harbor, Washington
Level Contributor
64 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“A great day out!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 9, 2014

Located in Point Defiance, the zoo and aquarium have been around for decades and are well run. Seasonal decorations make going back interesting and seeing the staff interact makes it fun for the little ones.

Visited February 2014
1 Thank Paul S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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