The Daily Mash-Up

Monday, July 24, 2017 This Week's Paper
Zoo seeking input on plans for new aquarium complex

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium officials are announcing plans for a new aquarium complex, and they want to hear from you! Community members are invited to provide feedback at two public meetings in Tacoma on Feb. 21 and 22.

A PDZA press release states the zoo's single biggest challenge is developing a long-term plan for the nearly 50-year-old North Pacific Aquarium and the 30-year-old Rocky Shores/Arctic Tundra exhibit. Both facilities are showing typical signs of deterioration and corrosion due to salt water.

Drafts of conceptual renderings, based on input from public meetings last April, show a modern aquarium and exhibit complex, with more up-close animal experiences, improved breeding facilities, and many unique visitor experiences. For example, visitors would be able to stand inside a crashing wave and not get wet, examine a sea lion's belly from an underwater tunnel and watch sea turtles and rays from a gigantic viewing window.

The former North Pacific Aquarium would then be transformed into a South America exhibit, which would link thematically to the nearby South Pacific Aquarium. Conceptual drawings show visitors journeying into a village high in the Andes Mountains surrounded by a lush jungle filled with jaguars, monkeys, bats, lizards and insects while Andean condors fly overhead.

Staff hope to finalize the zoo's long-term master plan this spring. The zoo master plan update continues a comprehensive plan update for all of Point Defiance Park, which Metro Parks launched in conjunction with the park's centennial.

Zoo officials will host two public meetings to solicit community input: from 6-7:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Tacoma Nature Center (1919 South Tyler Street) and 6-7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at Metro Parks Headquarters (4702 South 19th Street)

Unable to participate in a public meeting? Submit your input by email, on the zoo's Facebook page, by telephone at (253) 591-5337 or by mail at 5400 North Pearl St., Tacoma WA 98407.