A series of public meetings this month will help guide the future of the Northwest’s only combined zoo and aquarium. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium officials have set three sessions where community members can discuss the features and animals they’d like to see in the facility’s future. The input will help guide the zoo’s 10 year strategic plan over the next decade.
The meetings are:
• Wednesday from 6-7:30 p.m. at the zoo in Point Defiance Park.
• Thursday from 6-7:30 p.m. at Tacoma Nature Center, 1919 South Tyler St., Tacoma
• Monday from 4:30-6 p.m. at Metro Parks Headquarters Board room, 4702 S. 19th St., Tacoma
The draft strategic plan recommends replacement of the aging North Pacific Aquarium and replacement or upgrade of Rocky Shores/Tundra exhibit. It also raises the idea of a parking structure and expanded animal exhibits that could include species from South America, Australasia and the Russian Far East.
As part of the strategic plan, the zoo is also updating its animal collection strategy, looking at which species are available and fit in with the zoo’s mission. Among issues raised in the plan is whether to eventually phase out its elephant exhibit, given an expected shortage of Asian elephants and the need to expand the size of the elephant enclosure.
The plan doesn’t pinpoint funding sources for any improvements, but points out that voters have been generous in the past at passing zoo funding measures.
Below is a press release on the meetings with more information.
Point Defiance Zoo officials invite community input on zoo’s future
Tacoma, Wash. – Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium officials are inviting the community to share the experiences, animals and exhibits they would like to see at the zoo in the future. This feedback will help guide staff in developing the Tacoma zoo’s 10-year strategic plan.
“We’ve been blessed to have extraordinary community support, which has been instrumental in helping us become a nationally-recognized zoo and aquarium,” said Larry Dahl, president of Metro Parks Tacoma Board of Park Commissioners. “As we develop our plan for the future, we turn again to our community for guidance in determining what that future will look like.”
Gary Geddes, director of zoological and environmental education for Metro Parks Tacoma, said the zoo will face many challenges over the next decade, including a deteriorating North Pacific Aquarium and Rocky Shores exhibit and aging animals that may be difficult to replace.
With these challenges come potential opportunities, he said, ranging from new animals and exhibits to a modern aquarium complex with more up-close animal viewing experiences and improved breeding facilities.
Zoo officials will host three public meetings over the next week to solicit community input.
Wed. April 20, 6-7:30 p.m., Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, 5400 North Pearl Street, Tacoma
Thurs. April 21, 6-7:30 p.m., Tacoma Nature Center, 1919 South Tyler Street, Tacoma
Mon. April 25, 4:30-6 p.m. , Metro Parks Headquarters Board room, 4702 South 19th Street, Tacoma
Individuals who are unable to participate in a public meeting are encouraged to share their feedback by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, the zoo’s Facebook page at facebook.com/PtDefianceZoo or by telephone at (253) 591-5337.
Zoo staff hope to finalize the zoo strategic plan by summer 2012. To learn more about the zoo’s draft comprehensive strategic plan, visit pdza.org.