Go Behind the Scenes at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Kids don’t need to be a budding zookeeper or a hopeful marine biologist to get excited about the new Zoo for You program being launched this week at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium — but it couldn’t hurt.

Beginning Friday, Aug. 21, small single households can sign up for two experiences that will take kids behind the scenes of some of their favorite exhibits.

Experiences include Groovy Goats — which allows kids to interact with, well, kids in an “ultimate day-spa experience” — and Pacific Seas Aquarium Behind-the-Scenes, which is exactly what its title implies.

The Groovy Goat experiences are 30-minute sessions available at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily, during which up to five single-household zoogoers (including at least one adult) will learn about the animals from zoo staff while children ages 5 and up are allowed to brush, feed, pet, and play with their new ruminant friends. The experience is $100 for members and $150 for nonmembers, zoo admission is included.

During the 75-minute, once-daily Pacific Seas Aquarium Behind-the-Scenes experience, guests will be privy to the backstage areas that only aquarists get to see. Listen to aquarium staff while kids 8 and older gaze into microscopes, help test water salinity, and spot marine animals from a never-before-seen perspective. The whole experience is followed by a private Tidal Touch Zone session where guests can get up close and personal with starfish and anemones. Members can purchase the experience for $440 and nonmembers can participate for $465 with up to five participants.

“We’re thrilled we can offer these meaningful connections to our guests,” Wendy Spaulding, the zoo’s conservation engagement curator, said in a statement. “Not only are goat feeding and the Tidal Touch Zone some of our guests’ favorite experiences, they’re also ones that really deepen our empathy with the animal world. And the animals also enjoy the experience.”

Visitors who participate in the Zoo for You program will be asked to follow some COVID-related safety guidelines including social distancing and mask-wearing. For more information, or to book an experience, visit pdza.org/animal-experiences.

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is an assistant editor at South Sound magazine. Email her.
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