visit and view exotic animals of land and sea
Hidden in the depths of the never-ending wooded area that is Point Defiance Park, located near the historic town of Ruston, is the enchanting Point Defiance Zoo + Aquarium [PDZA]. What's so great about this zoo? It's the only combined zoo and aquarium in the Northwest, which means you get to see lions, tigers and sharks, oh my! Add this attraction to your next visit to experience animals and habitats from around the world, as I did just last week.

As you enter the zoo gates, another world is revealed. The first thing you'll notice are the zoo's mascots, two full-grown peacocks that roam free around the grounds, flashing their feathers to on-lookers.

To the left of the gates you'll see native Asian animals from tigers to swinging gibbon monkeys. My ten-year-old cousin, who was along on the adventure, was particularly fond of the swinging monkey. As soon as this monkey saw my camera he swung over to pose for a photograph, definitely a crowd-pleaser. Needless to say these animals are extremely interactive; you'll walk away with memories and a few good laughs too.

Located next to the Asia exhibit is a cave-like aquarium displaying underwater creatures native to the Pacific Northwest. An exhibit that is pleasing both to the eyes and the hands is the Marine Discovery Center underneath the aquarium where you'll get up-close views of various sea creatures from barnacles to sea cucumbers.

One of the most exciting and busy exhibits is the Cat Canopy. Although this new exhibit is under construction, you can go during scheduled feeding times to get a quick glimpse of the recently-birthed clouded leopard cubs. These cubs are a part of the Point Defiance Zoo + Aquarium's participation in several Clouded Leopard Conservation Projects that work to save these adorable, yet endangered animals.

After viewing the Cat Canopy we ventured over to the sea otter and polar bear exhibit and discovered that these animals are not as soft as they look! If you're feeling adventurous like my cousin and I were, you can feel their fur as zoo keepers share interesting animal facts with the crowd.

You can easily spend the entire day at PDZA, which means your stomach is bound to growl as loud as the lions, take your pick of cafes, all within view of the animals. If cafes are not your thing, there are plenty of picnic areas... so pack a lunch!

The Point Defiance Zoo + Aquarium has enough activities to entertain you and your family for the entire day, make sure to check the map or the front desk for daily activities such as the Clouded Leopard Cub feedings and the Marine Mammal Show.

Kortney's Recap: The Point Defiance Zoo + Aquarium has a little bit of everything for the whole family to go nuts! Animal exhibits will transport you from Asia all the way back to the Pacific Northwest, all in one day.

Plan Ahead:

  • Visit for seasonal hours
  • Check the map or the front desk for daily activities, Clouded Leopard Cub feeding times and the Marine Mammal Show

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