Point Defiance Park is a 760-acre urban park in Tacoma, Washington, near the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. This is a park that has a lot to offer their patrons including; Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, beaches, Rhododendron Garden, Rose Garden, boardwalk, trails, a boathouse, a dog park, where your furry friends can freely run around, a Washington State Ferries dock for the Point Defiance Tahleguah bypass over to Vashon Island, Fort Nisqually as well as an old-growth forest.
Not all the wildlife seen at Point Defiance Park is located in the Zoo and Aquarium. On top of the high cliffs that overlook the Tacoma Narrows patrons can watch bald eagles that are actually feeding on salmon runs that pass by on the powerful tidal currents. Over the winter migrating sea lions from California feed in the whirling tides underneath Gig Harbor overlook located on the point that is farthest north of the Peninsula. Most of the year Harbor seals can be found close to the point. The park is also the habitat for Douglas squirrels, raccoons, mule deer, red foxes, and pileated woodpeckers.
The roads and trails that weave through the forest preserve marked with symbols supplies a quiet place for cyclists, hikers, and joggers. There are numerous hiking trails along the Defiance cliffs that have breathtaking views of Dalco Passage, Gig Harbor, Taco ma Narrows Bridge, and Vashon Island. Kayakers are able to get going and ride the powerful tide north into the tidal rips from Owen Beach. In the middle of a metropolitan environment, kayakers find a quiet peace of heaven as they glide out into the narrows.
Patrons of Pint Defiance Park will find Dahlia garden, Japanese garden, and Rose garden. These gardens can be found near the main entrance to the park as patrons are approaching the Zoo and Aquarium, near Tacoma Orthodontics with Dr. Patra Alatsis. It is situated on a bluff that looks down on a waterfront that contains the boathouse, Anthony’s Restaurant as well as Washington State Ferry landing supplying access to Vashon Island. There are also Native plants, Fuchsia, Herb and Iris gardens. The most prominent fixture of the Japanese gardens is a structure station built-in 1914 known as Pagoda. In 1938 when buses removed streetcars in the West the Pagoda became a stand-by place for buses. It was transformed in 1963 into a focus point for flower shows as well as social meetings. In 2011 there was a fire and the Pagoda was severely damaged but it has since been beautifully restored.
Not only is there an old-growth forest that houses old Douglas Firs that are 450 years old there is also 250-foot vertical bluffs that expose the rich geology of the region. Both individuals, as well as groups, get together at the park for organized runs, picnics, weddings as well as other special events. On Saturday and Sunday mornings there is a five-mile drive outer loop that is closed to cars, this actually gives both pedestrians as well as cyclists free reign in the parks’ most popular destination.
Point Defiance Park in Tacoma Washington offers patrons a ton of opportunities to explore and uncover the region and wildlife.