It's kind fo strange to have two zoos in such close proximity to one another, particularly when Tacoma has only 180,000 residents. But Northwest Trek offers a much different experience than the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, with the emphasis on visiting the animals in their natural habitat.
A shuttle tram zips you from one animal region to another to witness the critters frollicking in their natural habitats. The bears of course are the popular draw, but you don't always see the animals as you would in a zoo's small cage. This can be frustrating to miss out on the large mammals, but it's nice to know that the park has tried to maintain a natural home for its inhabitants.