Accreditation & Awards

Franklin playground

Gold Medal Winner

Metro Parks Tacoma has won the prestigious National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.

This success is a direct result of the support we receive from the community and from our partnerships with other local agencies. Local citizens value their parks and we’re proud to be able to provide award-winning levels of service!

The announcement was made on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019 by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) at the opening session of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) annual conference.

This video, which accompanied 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.

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 Accreditation logoCAPRA, Commission for Accreditation of Park & Recreation Agencies

  • In 2014 Metro Parks Tacoma became a CAPRA Accredited Agency. On September 23, 2019 Metro Parks earned reaccreditation.
  • 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
  • Read the press release

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.