Who-hoo – it’s time for Zoo Boo!


Pumpkins, candy and festive décor will haunt Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Throughout the weekend zoo staff will give tigers, sea turtles, penguins, meerkats and more a wealth of the orange gourds to chomp, stomp and roll around – or just crawl into. Credit: PDZA

Break out the costumes and pumpkins. It’s Zoo Boo time!

Parents, kids, animals and zoo staff all love Zoo Boo, Oct. 12-13, the annual fall-themed celebration at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

Visitors can come in costume for $2 off general admission, and trick-or-treat for candy, bookmarks, temporary tattoos and more at fun activity stations around the zoo – think skull I.D., spooky trivia and guessing the pumpkin weight.

Candy handed out during Zoo Boo is screened to ensure that if it contains palm oil, that particular ingredient is sustainably produced. Palm oil produced through sustainable practices protects Asian rainforest habitat for species like Sumatran tigers and siamangs.

Four Sumatran tigers and two siamangs are among the many animals that have homes in the zoo’s Asian Forest Sanctuary habitat.

Zoo staff loves getting creative at decorating their exhibit areas, vying for the famed staff trophy. Guests may vote for their favorite decoration – this year with a retro “Creature Feature” theme.

And Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, animals always seem eager to receive pumpkins as special enrichments to their diets. Throughout the weekend zoo staff will give tigers, sea turtles, penguins, meerkats and more a wealth of the orange gourds to chomp, stomp and roll around – or just crawl into. Enrichments stimulate natural behaviors for animals, increasing mental and physical health or adding interest to their diets.

The zoo’s 8,500-pouns Asian elephants Suki and Hanako will get special giant pumpkins to stomp, donated by local growers. Polar bears Boris and Blizzard won’t chow down on pumpkins, but they will receive special icy treats – just the thing on a cool fall day. Sea otters and puffins will also receive icy enrichments. And zoo guests can take part in a costume parade led by Herald the dog, star of the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater, immediately after the 12 p.m. close encounter.

ACTIVITIES 10 A.M. to 4 P.M.

  • Guess the Pumpkin Weight: From small to giant.
  • Face Painting (for a fee): Offered by Northwest Trading Company.
  • Pumpkin Carving (Sun.): Watch as pumpkin carver Patrick Cully carves a giant pumpkin!
  • Zoo Society: Take a treat, enter a raffle, and learn more about the Zoo Society.
  • Weird and Wacky Trivia: Use your nifty noggin to answer these weird and wacky trivia questions.
  • AAZK Photo Op: Take your photo with our costumed polar bear mascot ($5 donation).
  • All About Skulls: Identify the animal the skulls belong to.
  • Spider Web Toss: Test your skills at this festive tossing game.
  • Bat Puppets: Create a new bat friend to bring home with you.
  • Bump in the Night: Ever wondered, “What was that animal sound?” Here’s a chance to find out.


  • 10 a.m. Watch muskox enjoy giant pumpkins
  • 11 a.m. See sea otters explore icy treats
  • 11 a.m. South Pacific Aquarium: Outer Reef sharks will receive a carved pumpkin stuffed with seafood (Sat.), Lagoon Feed (Sun.)
  • 11:30 a.m. Watch polar bears nibble on pumpkin ice treats
  • 12 p.m. Meet some of the stars at the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater, then follow Herald the dog on a costume parade
  • 12:30 p.m. See a tiger devour pumpkin treats and whipped cream
  • 12:30 p.m. (Sat.) Watch penguins play with pumpkins
  • 1 p.m. Elephants will get giant pumpkin treats to smash and play with
  • 2 p.m. Join the Keeper Chat as the American red wolf pups celebrate their first Zoo Boo!
  • 2 p.m. (Sat.) Puffins and murres get pumpkins, leafy browse or icy treats
  • 2 p.m. Get up close with creepy, crawly bugs in the Discovery Hut
  • 2:30 p.m. See meerkats receive festive items to play on
  • 3 p.m. Meet a keeper at the marine mammal Keeper Chat
  • Various times: See other animals around the Asian Forest Sanctuary and Kids’ Zone receive special enrichments.

Zoo Boo is presented by BECU. Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 12-13. Find more information at www.pdza.org/zoo-boo.

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