Metro Parks Tacoma

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Conduct in Our Parks

Walkers Enjoy Path On Tree Lined Ruston Way

Conduct in all public parks is subject to all the general police regulations of the City of Tacoma as well as to Chapter 8.27 of the Tacoma Municipal Code. Violations are civil infractions that can result in immediate citation with fines and removal from the park. Failure to comply can result in criminal trespass charges.

Browns Point Park and Dash Point Park are subject to the Pierce County Park Code.  

Fireworks prohibited in our parks.PARK HOURS

  • Open ½ hour before sunrise
  • Close ½ hour after sunset 
  • Exceptions may apply. See the Tacoma Municipal Code for details. 


  • Metro Parks Tacoma strives to create an atmosphere of accessibility for our diverse community. 


  • Fires are prohibited except in picnic stoves or in portable barbeques and they may only utilize propane or charcoal briquettes as fuel; all other fuel sources, including wood, are specifically prohibited.
  • Briquettes must be completely extinguished and properly disposed of or removed from the park.

BIKES (8.27.200)

  • Vehicular traffic, including bicycles, is prohibited in any park, except on roads intended for the movement of public vehicular traffic, or on roads and trails specifically designated for special use.
  • All vehicles, including bicycles, shall obey the posted speed limits and all other regulatory signs.
  • Five Mile Drive in Point Defiance Park is closed to vehicle traffic every Saturday and Sunday until 1 p.m. so visitors may run, walk or bicycle along the scenic drive.


  • It is unlawful to camp or set tents or other shelters overnight in any park.



  • Unauthorized cutting, removal, or destruction of any turf, tree, plant, shrub, flower, or seaweed on park property is prohibited.

DOGS (8.27.120)

  • You cannot bring your dog or cat to:  (service animals allowed)
    • Point Defiance Zoo
    • Northwest Trek Wildlife Park
    • Tacoma Nature Center
    • Any of our athletic complexes - SERA, Heidelberg or Peck Field.
  • Leash Law - All dogs are required to be on a leash no longer than eight feet or confined to their owner's property at all times. The only exception provided for in the leash law ordinance is if the dog is in a designated off-leash area. Dogs roaming free are in violation of the leash law ordinance. Dogs are not allowed at the locations listed above, even if on a leash. They may be seized or impounded by City of Tacoma Animal Care & Control officers. Owners of dogs running loose may receive a summons and/or a fine. To report a dog running loose or for more information about the leash law, call (253) 627-PETS (7387). There is no leash law for cats.
    Note: Pierce County Animal Services at (253) 798-7387 responds to calls in unincorporated Pierce County (Browns Point Park & Dash Point Park) about animals running loose, animal bites, cruelty reports, injured animals and vicious animal complaints.
  • Scoop that Poop - Pet waste left on the ground is more than smelly and unsightly . . . it pollutes our water and poses a health risk for pets and people, especially children. Make sure to scoop up poop and dispose of it in the garbage (in a plastic bag) or flush it down the toilet. 

FIRES (8.27.170)

  • Fires are prohibited except in park installed picnic stoves or in portable barbecues unless a special permit has been issued.
  • Fires in picnic stoves or portable barbeques may only utilize propane or charcoal briquettes as fuel. All other fuel sources, including wood, are specifically prohibited.
  • Portable barbeques may be utilized only for cooking food.
  • Briquettes must be completely extinguished and properly disposed of or removed from the park.

FIREWORKS (8.27.190)

  • It is unlawful to carry, shoot, fire, or explode any fireworks or explosives of any kind in any park.


  • Helmet use is required by anyone bicycling, skateboarding, roller-skating or riding a scooter in any public area in the City of Tacoma.


  • Display, possession, or consumption of intoxicating liquors in any park is prohibited, except in particular areas or facilities by permit.


  • Discover a fun new outdoor activity combining treasure hunting with rubber stamping. At Tacoma Nature Center workshops you can learn how to create a letterbox, make your own stamp and passport, and then head outdoors to discover the secret treasures of Snake Lake. Current Letterbox Workshops  


  • Use of metal detectors is limited to beach areas or locations where the environment can be accessed without damage and returned to its original state.
  • Unauthorized cutting, removal, or destruction of any turf, tree, plant, shrub, flower, or seaweed on park property is prohibited.


  • No person shall molest or attempt to touch any bird or animal in a park except to the extent permitted at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.
  • It is unlawful for any person to give, offer, or attempt to give to any animal within the parks any tobacco, drink, or other article known to be dangerous or noxious to animals.
  • It is unlawful to feed any bird or animal in a park.

PERMITS - Assemblies, entertainment, etc. (8.27.040)

  • All events, demonstrations, private parties, classes, commercial sales, weddings, camps or sporting programs require a permit.
  • Nothing can be sold in a park and admissions cannot be charged without a permit. (8.27.090) 
  • If you are bringing a sound-amplifying device, inflatable bouncer, stage or other equipment, or plan to run an organized activity, you must have a permit. (8.27.060) 
  • The permit must be presented when requested.
  • Permits supersede 'first come' claims to park amenities.
  • Call (253) 305-1010 for more info on permits.


  • No person, except duly authorized concessionaires, and those having a specific permit, shall sell or offer for sale in any park any goods, refreshments, photographs, or other articles.
  • Advertising by the distribution, carrying, erection, attachment, or use of a handbill, sign, or device of any kind in any park is prohibited.

SMOKING (8.27.085)


  • It is unlawful for any person to use a slingshot, beanshooter, paintball gun or equipment, or other similar implement, or golf or archery equipment in or upon any park; except that golf and archery equipment may be used in areas especially designated or provided for that use, or by specific permit.
  • It is unlawful to practice or play golf, baseball, tennis, soccer, or other games of like character, or to hurl or propel any missile into or over any park, except at places set apart for such purposes. It is unlawful to use motorized model aircraft or watercraft
    in any park, except as specifically designated. Any use of such models with engines or motors with a greater than twenty-five one hundredths cubic-inch displacement is prohibited.