Scuba Diving At The Local Zoo


Recently I got to go scuba diving at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium‘s shark tank. Although I have been diving with sharks before, it still was nerve-racking getting into that water.

The trainers there helped me along the entire way. Everything from getting me into the dry suit to getting me weighed properly. I had never worn a dry suit and it was pretty cool to be able to wear my street clothes into the tank and not a drop of water got on them.

First they had me enter into the cage and follow the lead. They open the doors to the cage and you hop out into the water… with the sharks. They had weighed me down a lot and I wonder if that was because they’ve had divers try and go off and do their own thing while in the tank. They wanted me to stay close and I was ok with that. We took a little swim and watched the sharks swim by. They weren’t afraid to swim right next to us. On a few occasions I thought they might touch me. The lead had a stick in his hand that let the sharks know not to get any closer which made me feel more comfortable.

As we swam around the cage the sharks became less and less intimidating. Honestly the worst part were the little black fish. I wish I remembered the species, but unfortunately I don’t. Anytime you got in their territory they would bump into you trying to get you to move. On several occasions I had this happen. They were tiny so it didn’t hurt, but it’s a little scary being in a tank with giant sharks and having something surprise you and ram in to you every few minutes.

Before you get into the tank the leads tell you that if you find any shark teeth you can pick them up and keep them. I was determined to find some and at one point a lead had found one and gave it too me. I was excited but still wanted my own. Finally I spotted one on the ground but as I leaned down to get it one of those pesky black fish started poking at me. It took me awhile to finally grab it but I was excited when I finally did.

During the dive one of my leads had a scuba mask that allowed him to speak. He did a presentation for anyone out looking in to the cage. It was great because I got to learn more about the sharks and the species in the tank while actually being inside with them.

Something really interesting about the experience is seeing the side of the tank sharks see. You can look out and see all the people looking in at you. It’s an odd experience and it makes you wonder what the sharks think when little kids press their faces against the glass to get a better look.

If you’re ever in the Tacoma Washington area I highly recommend this experience. You must have your divers license, but if you don’t you can do the cage dive where you still go in to the tank but have to stay in the cage.

2 thoughts on “Scuba Diving At The Local Zoo

  1. Kate says:

    What an awesome experience and very unique. I haven’t heard of any zoos that allow you to do this (although our local zoo doesn’t have sharks). Is this open to anyone with a drivers license? I would love to try this sometime, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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