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Point Defiance Park

Features You'll Find:
Hover over an icon for more details
  • ADDITIONAL FEATURES
    • Art & Artifacts
    • Bike Trail / Biking / Bicycling
    • Drinking Fountain
    • Environmental Education
    • Gift Shop
    • Historic
    • Parking Stalls
    • Parking Stalls / ADA
    • Restrooms / Seasonal
    • Restrooms / Year Round
    • Trail / Hard
    • Trail / Soft
  • BUILDINGS & PICNIC SITES
    • Barbecue
    • Kitchen
    • Meeting Space
    • Party Room
    • Picnic / Drop in
    • Picnic / Reservable
    • Weddings / Rentals
  • SWIMMING
    • Beach
  • BOATING & FISHING
    • Boat Launch / Drive Up
    • Boat Launch / Walk Up
    • Boat Lockers
    • Fishing Pier
  • BOATING
    • Boat Moorage
    • Kayak or SUP Rental
  • NATURAL FEATURES
    • Display Garden
    • Lake / Pond
    • Natural Areas
    • Puget Sound
    • Stream / River
    • Viewpoint
    • Waterfront
  • DOGS
    • Off Leash Dog Park
  • PLAYGROUNDS
    • Playground (5-12 yrs)
  • SPORTS
    • Tennis
Hours:

Open ½ hour before sunrise
Close ½ hour after sunset

Restroom Schedule

5400 N. Pearl St.
Tacoma, WA 98407

Get Directions
This 765-acre park is a popular destination for more than 3.1 million people each year. Natural forest, saltwater beaches and spectacular views offer numerous possibilities for recreation, education and communing with nature.


Destination Point Defiance LogoLearn about past and present park improvements
Destination Point Defiance is a long-term, comprehensive planning initiative to enhance the experience and honor the character of Point Defiance Park.
 
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DISCOVER POINT DEFIANCE PARK
Pt Defiance Lodge Visitors Center Point Defiance Lodge Visitor's CenterBest of South Sound 2014 logo
Tour interpretive exhibits, pick up a park map, talk to knowledgeable Park Ambassadors and get information on special events and recreational opportunities in the park. Books, gifts and refreshments are available for purchase. Get Hours and Directions
Clouded Leopard Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Experience the unforgettable world of the only combined zoo and aquarium in the Pacific Northwest. Polar bears and peacocks, walruses and wolves, meerkats and marine life - all in one fun-filled place!
Zoom Deep Forest Challenge Courses & Ziplines
Fort Nisqually Volunteer With Young Visitor Fort Nisqually Living History Museum
Travel back in time as re-enactors and craftspeople in period clothing transport you to mid-19th century life in Washington Territory. History comes alive as you tour our nearly 170-year-old nationally landmarked buldings.
Couple Walking on Owen Beach Point Defiance Waterfront & Marina
Discover the scenic splendor of the Point Defiance waterfront. Fine dining, boat rentals, an 8-lane public boat launch, moorage, a fishing pier and miles of shoreline . . . your destination for an ideal Northwest excursion.
Owen Beach  / Kayak Rentals
Marina
Interim trail downtown to defiance 9-22-13 Point Defiance to Ruston Way Trail
This interim pathway which officially opened September 22, 2013 provides safe and accessible non-motorized access between Point Defiance Park and Ruston Way.
Point Defiance Off-Leash Demonstration Area Off-Leash Area
Let the four-legged family members run free on approximately 7 acres located in the former Madrona Day Camp area on Five Mile Drive south of Fort Nisqually. Just the roadway and waterfront bluff area are fenced as well as about 1/8 acre area for smaller dogs. (You must maintain view and voice command of pets at all times.)
Garden Club Member Pruning in the Rose Garden Botanical Gardens
Immerse yourself in the park's specialty gardens - eight unique venues (including a Japanese Garden, Rose Garden and Northwest Native Garden) each offer vivid hues, fragrant scents and tranquil settings. Marvel at the beauty that has relaxed and rejuvenated visitors for more than half a century.
See what's blooming in our gardens each month.
Running on Point Defiance Park Trails Natural Areas & Trails
Enjoy walks, hikes and cycling opportunities with stunning views unparalleled by other urban parks! Among your many options . . . a trek amid acres of ancient forest or a stroll along Owen Beach on the shore of Commencement Bay. Trail signage throughout the forest makes exploring simple.
Five Mile Drive and other trails 
Flying Kites in Front of the Large Owen Beach Picnic Shelter Rental Sites
Fort Nisqually Living History Museum rentals
Pagoda rentals
Picnic Shelter rentals are available between April 1 and September 30 each year. Reservations may be made up to 365 days in advance.
Rose Garden rentals
Zoo & Aquarium rentals
Science and Math Institute student with marine life in Point Defiance Park The Science & Math Institute (SAMI)
Located in Point Defiance Park, this Tacoma School District high school is dedicated to integrating science and math into everyday learning. Tacoma voters recently approved a bond that will support the construction of classrooms at the Park.

HISTORY OF POINT DEFIANCE PARK
Old Car at Entry to Point Defiance Park History
President Andrew Johnson originally set aside Point Defiance Park as a military reservation, although it never was home to military operations. A bill authorizing Tacoma to use the reserve as a public park was approved in 1888 by President Grover Cleveland.
• Camp 6 - Established by the Northwest Forest Industries Museum in 1964, Camp 6 included several bunk houses, a short-haul train and pieces of historic logging equipment. In 2011, faced with limited attendance and no resources to maintain and operate its collection, the board of directors for the museum made a difficult decision to relocate the historic elements to another location. Currently that space is being used for overflow parking for the zoo. We plan to work with the community to determine the best long term use for that space.

PROTECTION OF WILDLIFE

Point Defiance Dont Feed Wildlife Sign Graphic
  • Wildlife can experience malnutrition, disease, and overpopulation due to human feeding.
  • Wildlife often exhibit aggressive behaviors when they become conditioned to expect food from people.
  • Overpopulation is a significant contributor to poor water quality and toxic algae growth, endangering public health and safety.
  • Feeding is illegal and to help curb overpopulation issues, citations will be issued for violations. Feeding carries a $532 penalty. (TMC 8.27.130)

Park Attractions to Explore:

Fort Nisqually Living History Museum

Point Defiance Marina

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Destination Point Defiance

Five Mile Drive & Trails

Greenhouse

Owen Beach

Point Defiance Lodge Visitors Center

Point Defiance Pagoda

Point Defiance Rose Garden

Point Defiance Picnic Shelters


Events Happening Here:
  • 01 Jan
    Polar Bear Plunge
    Kick off the new year with a cool tradition—a refreshing plunge into invigorating Puget Sound...
  • 17 Jan
    Point Defiance Marina Beach Cleanup
    Get hooked on helping at these cleanup events held every 3rd Saturday at the Point Defiance Marina. Join other...
    09:00 am
  • 19 Feb
    South Sound Wedding Workshop
    Learn about trends & get helpful tips to plan your wedding. Be inspired by creative ideas from premier Pierce...
    06:00 pm

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