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A Huge New Kid-Friendly Aquarium is Coming to the Pacific Northwest

Photo: Ingrid Barrentine/Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium


A huge new aquarium is coming to the Pacific Northwest, complete with green sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, and eagle rays. The Pacific Seas Aquarium, a new project of the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, will grace Tacoma with a brand-new home for marine life.

The aquarium will feature a 250,000-gallon “Baja Bay” exhibit that arches over the heads of visitors, housing species like scalloped hammerhead sharks, green sea turtles, and spotted eagle rays.

The current Marine Discovery Center will soon become the Tidal Touch Zone, a hands-on touch tank for exploratory young visitors. The new aquarium will also feature an exhibit on fish schools, a giant spider crab exhibit, a feature on the Tacoma-Narrows bridge’s marine environment, a tank that showcases deep-dwelling ocean creatures, a coastal kelp forest, an estuary tank, and educational and lab spaces for the future guardians of the ocean.

The $51.6 million dollar project funded by a 2014 Tacoma bond that voters approved, is scheduled to open in summer 2018 and will incorporate the animals that currently reside in the North Pacific Aquarium, a building that will eventually be repurposed by the PDZA. The Pacific Seas Aquarium is the largest capital project in Metro Parks Tacoma's 100-plus year history.

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