Animals, giveaways and special effects, oh my! Add in a mischievous chicken and you’ve summed up Point Defiance Zoo’s edutainingly engaging summer animal show. Whether your wild bunch wants to uncover interesting animal facts; brush up on their reduce, recycle, reuse skills; or just thinks dogs in costumes are too cute, it’s a worthwhile add to your South Sound zoo trip. Read on to see why.

Welcome to the Wild West!
For this summer spectacular, the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater has been reimagined as Triple R Town, where Sheruff Bones and his trusty sidekick are busy schooling a city slicker sheriff on the three R’s (reduce, recycle, reuse). Little did she know when she rode into town that “choose to reuse!” was the slogan here. But not to worry, she’s got Sheruff Bones to give her helpful hints on ways to make packing her lunch, doing the grocery shopping and even replacing batteries as green as they can be. The show’s message is a great tie-in to the zoo’s Washed Ashore exhibit (on display until Oct. 21), and the green-themed giveaways are just the encouragement mini audience members need to practice what they learn after the show.

Exciting Special Effects
Although living the green lifestyle is the theme of the show, the special effects used to bring this enviro-friendly story to life take center stage. Your sidekick will get a kick watching the city slicker sheriff rappel down an oversized boulder, and the mine explosion will truly capture their imagination. But the best effect has got to be when Sheruff Bones takes a hot air balloon from way up high, down the stage during the show’s finale. It all adds to the edutainment value of this zoo-tastic production.

photo: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Talk with the Animals
While Sheruff Bones is busy doing his thing, the zoo keepers are busy doing theirs, parading out some of the zoo’s most whimsical and intriguing critters for their captive audience to meet during the show. From the two-toed sloth, to the anteater with an impossibly long, sticky tongue, to the impressive bald eagle, each show features different animals, so you and your petite posse can get to know quite a few interesting characters every time you visit. Plus, there’s an opportunity for a lucky audience member to have an animal interaction up on stage. We suggest sitting on the aisle if you hope that it’s you. But even if you don’t get picked, everyone has the chance to see one animal up close after the show.

Beyond Triple R Town
When the show’s over, we suggest taking your little pardner over to the recently renovated Rocky Shores. The zoo has invested two million dollars into the animal habitats there and built new stadium seating so there’s not a bad seat in the house during the animal shows there. The walruses are the first tank on the row, and they’re mesmerizingly engaging. As much as your Little might not want to leave them, be sure to check out the playful sea lions, seals and otters too. And the newly added stroller-friendly pathway makes the trip that much easier for parents and families.

photo: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Good to Know
1. There’s no food allowed in the first three rows of the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater (it’s just too temping for the animals). So, if you grab lunch first, find a seat beyond the realm of temptation.

2. Sheruff Bones loves to take pics with kids. After each show, for a small donation ($1-$3), your cuties can pose with this gentle guy. So bring some green if pictures are on your to-get list.

3. Labor Day Weekend’s End of Summer Blast at Point Defiance will be off the hook. Plan a family date for one last hurrah before school starts!

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater
5400 N. Pearl St.
Tacoma, Wa 98407

Dates: Now thru Labor Day, 2017
Times: Daily at noon & 3:30 p.m. (11:45 a.m. & 3:15 p.m. pre-show presentations)
Cost: Included with zoo admission ($17.95/Adults; $13.95/Kids (5-12); $9.95/Tots (3 & 4); 2 & under Free

Have you seen this latest animal show? What was your favorite part? Tell us in the comments below. 

— Allison Sutcliffe (all photos courtesy of the writer, unless otherwise noted)