Visitors to the zoo and aquarium in Tacoma will be limited to 400 per hour starting on Friday.

TACOMA, Wash. — Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium will further limit its capacity beginning this Friday, in accordance with the return of Phase 2 COVID-19 restrictions in Pierce County. 

Pierce County is one of three in Washington state that is rolling back to the more restrictive Phase 2 in the “Healthy Washington” plan. The state moved Pierce, Cowlitz and Whitman counties back after rises in cases and hospitalizations.

Point Defiance Zoo was already operating under a timed ticketing system. Under Phase 3, the zoo is offering 440 available tickets every hour. With the shift to Phase 2 on Friday, the zoo will only offer 400 tickets per hour.

“When we made the leap from Phase 2 to Phase 3 before, we didn’t turn up the dial, as far as capacity goes, as much as we could have,” said Alan Varsik, director of the Zoological and Environmental Education Division of Metro Parks Tacoma. “We just did a very modest adjustment. We want to make sure that everybody is feeling safe throughout their experience.”

With fewer tickets available to the public, Varsik expects the demand to outpace the supply. 

“If you’re planning on visiting the zoo with this great weather that we’re experiencing, my advice to you would be to get your tickets as soon as possible because with this weather, just like we did last weekend, we anticipate that this weekend, we will sell out again,” Varsik said.

Tickets for the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium are only available on their website. Varsik says tickets cannot be purchased at the gate.

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