One of the largest urban parks in the United States is a green space home to lovely gardens as well as a fun-filled zoo and aquarium.
Point Defiance Park is among the Puget Sound region’s most popular city parks. Enjoy outdoor activities, such as walking, hiking, cycling, fishing and tennis. Take the kids to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, stroll through beautifully landscaped gardens and look for sailboats on Owen Beach.
Begin your visit at the Point Defiance Visitors Center to collect a map and plan your day. The park hosts regular special events, particularly during the summer, so find out if anything is taking place during your visit.
Explore the park’s scenic rose garden and peaceful Japanese Garden. The Fuchsia Garden features about 125 different varieties of upright fuchsias. This garden is popular with hummingbirds, especially from June to October when the fuchsias are in full bloom. Other formal gardens include a Dahlia Trial Garden and a Herb Garden.
Follow the picturesque waterfront promenade from the Boathouse Marina to Owen Beach. Enjoy beachcombing or rent a kayak to take out on the water. During the late summer and early fall, seal pups can often be spotted just north of the beach. These majestic creatures rest on the sand for hours each day to regulate body temperature.
The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium is one of the park’s most popular attractions. This fascinating facility features an Asian forest sanctuary that’s home to small-clawed otters, leopards, tigers and elephants. See polar bears swimming in a saltwater pool and learn how Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium saved red wolves from near extinction with its recovery program.
Go to Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, where costumed interpreters teach visitors about 19th-century life. Check out the museum’s restored historic buildings, which were originally built by early European settlers.
Find this urban park about 7 miles (11 kilometers) from the center of Tacoma, Washington. Free parking is available in the lots next to the park entrance, as well as at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium.
Point Defiance Park is filled with beautiful natural areas, outdoor activities and opportunities to learn about Tacoma’s rich cultural history.