Because we buy a yearly pass, the Pt.Defiance Zoo is often our go-to option when we just can’t stand staring at each other or our four walls for one. more. minute.
In addition to offering world class animal exhibits, the PDZA also offers several special programs you really should check out.
Here’s a rundown:
Zoo Tots’ Critter Club-A preschool program with crafts and an animal encounter. 5.00 for members; 7.00 for non-members. You’ll also have to pay for admission to the zoo if you want to go in after. I did several of these with the boys, and I was consistently impressed with the knowledge level of the instructors and the materials they provided. Regularly scheduled Thursdays and Fridays. The next one is Otter Oddities on either the 18th or the 19th.
Hot! Hot! Hot! Career Day at the Zoo is Saturday, November 13th. Free Admission for kids in 6th grade-college. Behind the scenes tours and information about careers in zoo sciences. Preregistration isn’t required, but kids do need to check in on arrival, and siblings will still need to pay. What a deal!
If your older child Knows a zoo career is in his future, there are two outstanding programs offered at various points during the year:
Keeper for a Day and Marine Biologist for the Day-The Keeper program is a one day course, with the option of doing a second day at a higher level later on. The marine biologist program is a two day event. Both are designed for kids 13-18 and include hands on activities designed for kids interested in related careers. The zookeper program starts at 65.00, and the marine biologist weekend is 100.00 Frankly, I think both are pretty good bargains for the experience (and a lot cheaper than 4 years of college in the wrong major)!
I’d encourage your kids to do the free career day, and if their interest is still peaked, have them do one of the other courses the next time it’s offered.
The zoo also offers camps at various times during the year. There is a winter break camp coming up soon for school aged kids.
Now, the zoo itself is an affordable family outing If you have a pass, or if you live in the city of Tacoma and go on free days. If you pay regular admission you are going to shell out big bucks-like suck the air out of you big bucks-just to get in the door. Then your kids will hit you up for money to buy Dippin’ Dots, carousel rides, and everything else under the sun.
There are coupons in the Entertainment Book, and your kids may get them through the library summer reading program. However, my advice is to buy the annual pass. If you go even twice it pays for itself. If your family budget just won’t allow for this, consider putting it on your family’s wish list. We use Christmas money from my in-laws to pay for ours every year.
If you’re at the zoo just for an outing, make sure to get the schedule of the days’ animal encounters. It really adds a lot to the trip.
You may also want to try the Walk on the Wildside program. It’s a free program to encourage walking and kids can earn an animal backpack.
You’ll also want to be sure to check the hours, as they do change seasonally, and the zoo closes for some holidays.
I’ll have future posts about more wild fun! If you’ve got a great zoo tip I missed, let me know! Remember that veterans can go to Pt. Defiance for free tomorrow. Get the scoop on that and other options in my Veterans Day post.