Spend a Spring Break ‘Staycation’ with Conservation Superstars at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Submitted by Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium

Spring Break will be here soon, and now’s a great time to make plans for time with the kids.

There’s no better place around Puget Sound for a “staycation” than Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, where families can spend time close to home and get in a bit of “globetrotting” at the same time.

During Spring Break Superstars April 4-8, there’s a whole world of animals to see, and a different “conservation superstar” animal will be highlighted each day.

Visitors can participate in hands-on activities, including a zoo-wide Scavenger Hunt, while learning about actions they can take to conserve resources and help endangered animals in the wild. Meanwhile, animals will receive special enrichment treats.

Enrichments such as special food items are designed to stimulate the animals both mentally and physically as they figure out how to get to the treats and then expend some energy doing so.

Here’s the schedule of featured animals, enrichments, and activities:

Monday, April 4

Red wolves: These animals are native to the Southeastern United States, and Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium has been instrumental in saving the species from extinction.

  • Enrichment – At 2:00 p.m., red wolves will receive papier-mâché flowers stuffed with treats.
  • Mark Your Scent – Visitors can act like a red wolf and “mark” their territory.
  • Make Tracks – Red wolves need food, water, shelter, and space. Visitors can learn how to create a habitat that has everything a red wolf needs.

Tuesday, April 5

Sharks: Visitors can check out the South Pacific Aquarium, home to 16 sharks of five different species. Sharks swim all the world’s oceans, but are increasingly threatened by finning and overfishing. In addition to the massive sharks that circle gracefully in the main shark exhibit, two smaller shark species live with their cartilaginous cousins at Stingray Cove, where visitors can gently touch them.

  • Enrichment – At 11:00 a.m., sharks will receive an icy popsicle treat, while fish in the Lagoon and North Pacific Aquarium will receive gel spring-themed treats.
  • Shark Puzzles – Visitors can learn about different shark species and their unique adaptations.
  • Shark Tooth Scientist – Visitors can discover different types of shark teeth and the foods sharks eat.

Wednesday, April 6

Elephants: Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium is home to two Asian elephants, Hanako and Suki.

  • Enrichment – At 1:00 p.m., elephants will enjoy a special treat made just for them.
  • Elphies for Elephants – Visitors can draw an elephant and take an “elphie” to support elephant conservation.
  • The Nose Knows – Visitors can play a memory game to learn more about an elephant’s trunk.

Thursday, April 7

Tapirs:Some say that he looks like a cross between a panda and an anteater, but Baku the tapir is actually more closely related to horses and rhinoceroses. He can be spotted in the Asian Forest Sanctuary.

  • Enrichment – At 12:45 p.m., Baku the tapir will enjoy a bamboo enrichment.
  • Match the Tracks – Visitors will learn how to spot the differences in animal tracks.
  • Camouflage Investigation – Can black and white tapirs camouflage themselves in their habitat? Visitors investigate to find out.

Friday, April 8

Polar Bears:These massive mammals are native to the coastal regions, islands and seas of the Arctic. Two polar bears, Boris and Blizzard, live at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium as ambassadors for their wild counterparts.

  • Enrichment – At 11:30 a.m., polar bears will receive ice treats with toys and icing.
  • How Much Does it Weigh – How much does a baby polar bear weigh? How much fat does a polar bear need to consume? Visitors can test their strength skills and find out.
  • Super Scent – An amazing sense of smell is a must for any polar bear. Visitors can test their own sense of smell.

All activities are free with membership or admission to the zoo.

For more information, visit www.pdza.org.


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