Learning About All Creatures Great And Small At The Point Defiance Zoo And Aquarium

Last Updated on September 11, 2016

When you’re traveling with kids, we find that it is so important to plan great kid activities where they can run around and be kids, while keeping the learning extra fun. Little did we realize, that Point Defiance Zoo And Aquarium would be just as great for us adults, too.

Looking up the details on the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, we knew we should expect a smaller Zoo, but what we didn’t realize is how much more interaction we would be presented with. We felt like everywhere we turned, we were greeted by another smiling face, offering us another close encounter with something amazing. Especially for three-year-old Madison, all the hands-on experience was a dream come true. It was so much easier to keep her engaged and asking questions when she could get up close and really gain a better understanding of what was in front of her.

One of the Turtles that someone tried to smuggle in socks. They were confiscated and given to the Zoo.
Eurasian Eagle Owl – Stunning bird! It is a very large, heavy owl with prominent ear-tufts, and powerful feathered talons.
Blue Tongue Skink – looks like a cross between a snake and lizard!
A great opportunity for learning!
Learning about Stingrays
Finding out what a Starfish feels like
A short ride, but it sure brought with it a ton of questions afterwards!

Of course, not all toddler logic is completely sound. During the camel ride, though Madison knew it was a camel, she kept insisting the camel was just a huge horse with its big belly up high. We found that description pretty darn brilliant, and she hasn’t stopped talking about camel humps since. Seeing her make such great observations really lead to some great conversations about incredible animals and why they are as they are. Instead of passing by the animals after a quick glance, getting up close really opened the door to more learning.

Riding the camel for non-members had a cost of $7 per person, and it was a super short ride. But, the conversations it sparked were well worth the $14US for us to ride. You must be three years old to be able to ride. 

The Aquarium was quite small, but was very comprehensive and also offered many touch pools where you could feel what it is like to touch a starfish, rocks with anemone, and stingrays. There’s even construction of a new aquarium in the works, set to open in 2018. We’ll have to make our way back into the area for that opening; we expect more great things!

How stunning is this Jellyfish?
Finding Dory – They did find her!
The “Sharks that walk”

We loved seeing the Puffins and watching them swim under water was extraordinary. It was fun to see how massively huge a Walrus really is; they are more incredible than we had thought before. Watching the Walrus emerge from the water and during feeding time was incredible. It was also great to see that this Zoo is doing such groundbreaking work at breeding Red Wolves and Clouded Leopards.

How beautiful is this Puffin?
There’s a lot more to this Walrus…

We found it easy to spend six hours wandering around the grounds, which are covered with greenery and beautiful flowers of all colours. We visited on a Saturday, making the Zoo extra busy, but the grounds are well laid out and clean, and we found that even with little kids, we could easily wander without any issues.




The only real disappointment was the food. The ice cream was really good, but the sandwiches left a lot to be desired. I love a good pulled pork sandwich, but the pork was still cold and was really dry. The Turkey Club was better, but still wasn’t anything great.

Turkey Club sandwich
You don’t mess with Sadie when she has her ice cream!
This Flavour Burst ice cream was delicious!

The kid’s area, Animal Avenue, was very well done. By the end of the day when we hit the Animal Avenue stop, Sadie had passed out from all the stimulation, but Madison was still raring to go. There were more animals to admire in Animal Avenue, but there was also a great playground where Madison was able to burn off the rest of her energy before we hopped back into the van.


Sadie couldn’t quite make it through the whole day.


Madison loved pretending to be a vet assistant. This Lizard was very well taken care of.
Feeding the Goats brought on a ton of giggles. Madison even thanked the Goats for eating from her hand.
Madison absolutely loved this veterinary area.
All smiles the entire day at the Zoo!


Did you know?

A Polar Bear in the wild needs an average of 4.4 pounds of fat a day to survive. A ringed seal weighing 121 pounds could provide up to 8 days of energy. That is like you eating over 73 Big Macs a day, which has 29g of fat (0.06 lbs).


The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is such a unique Zoo. Even if you have been to plenty of other Zoo’s on your travels, this one is definitely worth stopping for a day’s visit.


What are some of the great Zoo’s you have visited?


Our trip to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium was sponsored, but as always, our opinions are our own.