Accreditation & Awards

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Gold Medal Finalist

Metro Parks Tacoma is one of four finalists in its population category for the national Gold Medal Award – the most prestigious award in the recreation and parks industry!

This video, which accompanies our application, highlights a variety of significant accomplishments including:

  • Opening the Pacific Seas Aquarium and Eastside Community Center in 2018.
  • Transforming a contaminated Superfund site into an incredible waterfront park that opens this summer.
  • Creating the Elementary Sports Program and Whole Child Access Pass to overcome geographic and economic barriers that make it harder for children to participate in recreational opportunities.
  • Expanding environmental and conservation education from pre-school through high school, and implementing programs such as the Ocean-Friendly Restaurant campaign to reduce the use of single-use plastics.

Winners in the population categories will be announced in September at the National Recreation and Park Association conference.

On behalf of the Board of Park Commissioners and the staff of Metro Parks Tacoma, we thank all of our partners, volunteers, participants, customers, and donors for helping us achieve the honor of being recognized among the best systems in the country.

CAPRA, Commission for Accreditation of Park & Recreation Agencies

  • On October 13, 2014 Metro Parks Tacoma became a CAPRA Accredited Agency.
    The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) recognizes park and recreation agencies for excellence in operation and service.
  • Agency accreditation is available to all entities administering park and recreation systems, including municipalities, townships, counties, special districts and regional authorities, councils of government, schools, and military installations.
  • Overview of the CAPRA Accreditation process
  • Benefits of CAPRA Accreditation

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (PDZA) is the only combined zoo and aquarium in the Pacific Northwest. The 29-acre zoological park was established in 1905, and attracts about 700,000 visitors a year. It is nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA), which ensure rigorously high standards of animal welfare, veterinary care, conservation, education and more.

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is dedicated to conservation, education and recreation by displaying, interpreting and researching native Northwest wildlife and natural habitats. We are nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), which ensures rigorously high standards of animal welfare, veterinary care, conservation, education and more.