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“Point Defiance Park”

Point Defiance Park
Ranked #1 of 82 things to do in Tacoma
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Scenic park offering more than 700 acres of woodland trails, gardens and waterfront views, along with a zoo and aquarium.
Reviewed February 26, 2012

This has many activities! The zoo, rose garden, 5 mile drive. Great for families.

Thank phillips810
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 20, 2012

I lived here for 9 years and my children were born in Tacoma. Infamous for the "aroma of Tacoma" this bule collar city has shed that image and has become a wonderful place to live and visit. I moved away in 1989, but I return occasionally to marvel at the progress the city has made. It has one of the longest public parks along the Pugest Sound waterfront. It is clled Ruston Way. Great walking, jogging, biking and on-leash dog area. Beautiful views from this great park.

There are other great Tacoma park areas, too. Titlow Beach with its beach and community center lodge. Day Island is a nearby drive. Beautiful homes on the beach. Then the jewell of the city - Point Defiance Park. The park is old growth forest with spectacular views across the Puget Sound Narrows. You can view the entrance to Gig Harbor (kind of like Marin, CA), the Tacoma Narrows bridge and Vashon Island. There are ships moving through the narrows bound for Olympia or the Pacific ocean. Ships are anchored in Commencement Bay, waiting to move to a dock to load or unload their cargo. They are auto ships, flat deckers with no gear, bulk carriers, tankers, RORO ships and container ships. There is a fish processing facility on one of the many waterways in the Port of Tacoma and at the port's main office there is a pedestrian viewing platform.

The world class Point Definace Zoo and Aquarium is located just inside the park. Fort Nisqually is a replica of a fort originally built for protection which overlooks the Puget Sound and it is open for exploring. There is a steam locomotive that runs during the summer and a small logging camp that is staffed by volunteers. There is a samll marina that rents runabouts. A WA state ferry docks at Point Defiance to discharge automobiles and passengers from Maury and Vashon Islands. The ferry docks between a private yacht club and a private restaurant. There is a walkway, about a third of a mile between a great beach and the private restaurant. Picnic tables and playgrounds are located throughout the park. There are miles of jogging and bike trainls throughout the park and for dog owner's there is an off-leash area.

There are beautiful gardens in the park that are maintained by volunteers. Roses, rhodies, a Japanese garden with a pagoda, currently under restoration, which hosts spectacular flower shows. Many flowers planted in the park are started at a park owned conservatory located in another park in the city. The conservatory is open for tours and is also a wonderful trip.

There is a lodge in Point Difiance Park that is availble for events and the rose garden can be used for picture ops with a small fee and reservations.

Another quick note is a park that is part of this system located south of the city. It is Northwest Trek and is worthy of a review of its own.

Please go and enjoy these sights. The price is right, too. Free. Some sites ask for a donation but there is no pressure to participate. Give if you want, if you can not afford it, enjoy the same benefits as everyone else.

1  Thank Golfingmike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2012

Lots more to see at the park than the zoo. Haven't been to Fort Vancouver in years and was a bit saddened to see that you now have to pay. That aside, it is an interesting view into the "olden days."

Thank Annette M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 16, 2012

Very cool setting in the harbor but small. However a very nice job by the city. Clean and safe.

Thank J B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 16, 2012

Point Defiance park has wonderful flower gardens, great expanses of grass and trees, wonderful drives and a great zoo which will entertain your children for hours. Special shows for children are held each day in the Zoo. Small cafes/diners are situated throughout the zoo to answer any child's wish for lunch or just a snack like ice cream.

Thank PCSwanda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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