It generally is not a good idea to let zoo animals go free, especially the tigers. But allowing humans to go to the zoo for free is a whole other story.
On Wednesday, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is offering all Tacoma residents a chance to visit the zoo, free of charge. It’s a “thank you” to Tacoma voters who approved a $35 million bond issue in 1999 to pay for zoo improvements. The money has funded the Kids’ Zone and Animal Avenue, the Asian Forest Sanctuary, Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater, an animal hospital, a new front gate, an education center, a gift shop and a café.
Wednesday also is a chance to see who is new at the zoo. Kali, the Sumatran tiger cub, is 5 months old. Sang Dao, a female clouded leopard cub, arrived last week to meet her future mate, Tien. While big cats are always on display at the zoo, you might not be able to see a certain individual because of animal rotation. You can inquire on the status of a particular cat at the front gate.
Also, new this year is the Stingray Cove touch tank. Stingrays might not be cuddly, but they are harmless and their skin is velvety smooth.
On Wednesday, the zoo will have its normal schedule of events:
11 a.m. South Pacific aquarium lagoon feed.
11:30 a.m. Polar bear keeper talk.
12:30 p.m. Asian Forest Sanctuary keeper talk.
1 p.m. Elephant keeper talk.
1:30 p.m. Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater animal close encounter.
2 p.m. Red wolf keeper talk.
3 p.m. Marine mammal keeper talk.
Special animal exhibits hours:
Budgie Buddies: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Marine Discovery Center: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Stingray Cove touch tank: 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1-4 p.m.
The Zoo offers all Pierce County residents discounted admission prices every day in recognition that a portion of county sales tax helps to support the zoo. On Wednesday, Tacoma residents should bring proof of residency (current driver license or picture ID plus utility bill) for free admission.
If you miss Wednesday’s free day, you have four more options in 2013: Oct. 9 and 29; Nov. 7 and Dec. 5.
Tacoma residents free ZOO day
When: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Tickets: Free for Tacoma residents
Information: 253-591-5337, pdza.orgCraig Sailor: 253-597-8541 craig.sailor@ thenewstribune.com