Keep your eyes open for ceramic leopard paws hidden around Tacoma parks, public places

More than 170 ceramic clouded leopard paws have been hidden at Tacoma area parks and other popular public spots as part of the Great Community Great Zoo Festival on Sat., June 18 and Sun., June 19. People can search in places such as Owen Beach at Point Defiance Park, Tacoma Nature Center, McKinley Park and Dash Point Park. Paws also will be hidden in public places around Tacoma, University Place, Gig Harbor and Fircrest. Individuals who find the five-inch ceramic paws can redeem them for free admission to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium during the two-day event. They also will be entered to win prizes, ranging from a behind-the-scenes tour to a Point Defiance Zoo Society membership. The Zoo Society is nearing the end of its $7.15 million capital campaign and is celebrating the approaching finish line during the two-day community festival. All gate proceeds from the weekend will be applied to The Zoo Society’s campaign efforts.

“We are grateful for the strong support we’ve received so far and hope that all zoo lovers will join us to see their contributions at work,” said Zoo Society executive director Caryl Zenker. More than 92 percent of the campaign goal has been raised, with funds earmarked for the Animal Avenue, Red Wolf Woods and Cats of the Canopy exhibits as well as a permanent endowment fund.

The paws were created by students from the Science and Math Institute and glazed and fired by Tacoma artist Ginger Kryger. People who find the paws, which are individually numbered and labeled, are encouraged to post the numbers and locations where they found them to the zoo’s Facebook page  at .

Exciting events are planned throughout the zoo for the Great Community Great Zoo Festival, including special enrichment treats for the animals, hands-on activities, face painting, a live band and a raffle for tickets to Zoobilee, the Zoo Society’s black-tie fundraising event. “This fun-filled weekend will provide an opportunity for families who love the zoo to play together and model philanthropy for their children at a place that is important to them,” said Zenker.