Need another reason to visit the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium? Bring the kids to check out the art exhibit Washed Ashore showing now through October 21. The whole family will love the huge sculptures of animals created from plastic trash washed up on ocean beaches. Although that doesn’t sound very attractive, I promise it is. Here is Lidia the Seal:
My kids really enjoyed doing a scavenger hunt associated with the art (download from the zoo website or pick one up from the ticket booth). In each sculpture, you can hunt for various items within the animal such as a cell phone, water bottle or plastic straw. It is amazing how the artist incorporated trash into these larger than life animals to create something beautiful.
In the above close up picture of a fish sculpture, you can really see the various trash items, such as beach toys, in the art.
Most of the art is in the big grassy area just beyond the main entrance of the zoo. Nearby, there is a station manned by volunteers where you can sign a pledge at the Earth Aid Station to reduce your own use of single-use plastics. Single-use plastics are things like plastic cup lids, plastic drinking straws and plastic bags. Each sculpture has a plaque explaining how plastic trash affects ocean life. It also explains how even properly recycled plastics can “escape” and wind up in the ocean.
At the Marine Discovery Center kids can not only touch the sea animals but check out a display that tells the story of how plastics get into the sea. Just outside the discovery center, there is a wall of jellyfish art, each jellyfish was created from a plastic water bottle. There are even directions near the art telling you how to make your own at home.
The scavenger hunt also encourages kids to find the real life animal counterparts to each sculpture. And for educators and homeschoolers, if you scroll to the bottom of the Washed Ashore page on the zoo https://www.pdza.org/washed-ashore/ there are additional educational materials.
My kids really had fun on this visit, both with the art exhibit and the zoo itself. And it definitely made all of us rethink our use of plastic.