Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

The aquariums at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium are reopening. (Photos by Katie Cotterill)

Aquariums reopening at Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma

You can go see the sea creatures beginning Friday, March 5.

With new state guidelines for indoor facilities, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is reopening its aquariums Friday, March 5.

The Pacific Seas Aquarium and South Pacific Aquarium have been closed for months, even as the zoo reopened to the public, with limited capacity, last summer.

The Pacific Seas Aquarium showcases marine animals from around the Pacific Ocean, including sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, eagle rays, ratfish, rockfish, king crabs and favorite fish like Buddy the California sheephead.

The South Pacific Aquarium is home to massive warm water sharks, tropical fish and even a shy moray eel.

Special safety and distancing measures inside the aquariums include limited capacity and one-way paths, required face coverings, social distancing guidelines and extra sanitary measures. The touch zone, play area and interactive digital stations remain closed, and signs will remind visitors not to touch exhibit windows and other surfaces. Hand sanitizer is available, and restrooms with no-touch entry are open in the Pacific Seas Aquarium.

Aquarium staff dives, talks and feeds will happen at unscheduled times to prevent congestion.

Also important to know: Timed tickets are required for entry and, with limited visitor capacity, it is wise to reserve early. Time is set aside on Monday afternoon for those who cannot wear masks because of a medical condition or disability. In-zoo purchases require credit/debit cards (no cash). Drinking fountains are closed but water-bottle refill stations are operating. The zoo is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays (that will change after March 31).

More in Seattle’s Child:

Updating guide to facilities that are reopening

Searchable family events calendar



About the Author

Julie Hanson

Julie Hanson is a longtime journalist, South King County resident and mom to a 15-year-old girl.