Day Trip: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

A couple of weeks ago, I took a trip down to Tacoma for a walk around Point Defiance Park and to visit the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.  It was drizzling and cold, but I had most of the day to burn while anxiously waiting for the Seahawks game to start, so I bundled up and headed south.

If you haven’t visited the zoo and aquarium in Tacoma, you should-it’s a delight!  The zoo is smaller than Woodland Park Zoo, but there are plenty of animals and marine creatures to keep you entertained for at least a couple of hours.  There are also several daily talks, and a children’s area if you bring the kids and they still have some energy to burn.  In addition to visiting all of the animals, I watched the daily shark feeding and a presentation with the polar bears, as well as got hands-on to pet stingrays, sharks, and goats.  If you want an experience that’s even more immersive, you can try the Shark Dive; it’s $75, for ages 8 and up, and seems to be a good deal considering that swimming in a tank full of sharks is a rarity.

Given that it is winter (and perhaps because it was Seahawks game day), the crowd was small.  I have been here in the past during the summer, which can definitely get more crowded.  But on this visit, there was plenty of time to enjoy each exhibit without having to fight for a good view.  I spent lots of time with the tiger cubs, walruses, polar bears, and sea otters (they are the cutest!).

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

While you’re in the area, take a drive/bike ride/walk around the 5-mile Drive (in Point Defiance Park), or explore the Ruston Way, Old Town, and Proctor neighborhoods in Tacoma’s northern end of town.

Happy World Turtle Day!

Happy World Turtle Day! | southernbeets

Sea turtles in Poipu, Kauai.

Happy World Turtle Day!  It’s been celebrated on May 23 of each year since 2000.  It’s sponsored by American Tortoise Rescue and brings awareness to how we can help preserve the populations of these gentle guys.  TedEd has a video here that shows the journey of the sea turtle from egg to adulthood, and how difficult it is for sea turtles to survive long enough to create more baby sea turtles.  Sea turtles are one of my favorite animals.  Spotting them swimming along the shoreline seemed to be my sole mission last time I went to Hawaii, and I hope they’re around to enjoy for many generations to come.  The Sea Turtle Conservancy has many suggestions to help our sea turtles, and I thought I’d share a few:

  1. Recycle and buy sustainable products.  Ocean debris (like plastic bags, balloons, netting, and containers) looks like food, and turtles try to eat it.  There’s several “garbage patches” in the ocean, with some as large as Texas.  National Geographic discusses this growing problem in more detail here.
  2. Try walking, biking, carpooling, or taking public transportation.  Replacing some or all of your commutes with something that uses less gasoline can help reduce our overall use, and therefore decrease demand for drilling in marine areas.
  3. Haul out what you haul in to the beach.  Leftovers can attract raccoons and other animals that pray on sea turtles and their eggs.
  4. Use biodegradable lawn and garden produces to reduce the amount of toxins that make it to our water supplies.
  5. Enjoy turtles (and other endangered animals) from a distance.  As tempting as it can be to approach these gentle giants, many animals are easily scared away from nesting and resting grounds.