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2017 Point Defiance Visitors Center Activities Schedule

Traffic Alert at Point Defiance Park, June 21 - 26, 2017 Read More >
Teachers: Are you interested in bringing your students to Point Defiance Park for a private Ranger Program? 
Click here to submit a request to Ranger Mary >

 
 Park Ranger Programs
 

Free Programs

Friday thru Sunday (Except June 23-25)
Meet at the Point Defiance Visitors Center

  • 11:30 am-12 pm Garden Tour
  • 12:30-1 pm Walking History Tour
  • 2:30-3 pm Urban Wildlife Walk

Free Ranger-Led Nature Walks
July/August
- Every Fri, Sat, Sun
Sep. 9, Oct. 7, Nov. 14
1-2 pm

Meet the Park Ranger at the Rhododendron Garden for an exploration of nature in Point Defiance Park. Not recommended for strollers, wheelchairs, or children under 3.
 

Tacoma Giants: Part 1
Trees of Point Defiance Park

Jul. 15, Aug. 26, Sep. 30, Oct. 21, Nov. 11, Dec. 9
9-10 am
Meet Mik and the Beanstalk. Mik is a Certified Arborist happy to share his knowledge of the trees of Point Defiance with you; and the Beanstalk is a 186-foot Pseudotsuga menziesii, a.k.a. Douglas-fir, located a stone's throw away from Fort Nisqually. Ideal for kids, older folks and people with mobility issues, the event will include activities around the Fort Nisqually Picnic Shelter and the Beanstalk nearby. Less than 500' of walking required to participate.
Instructor: Certified Arborist Mik Miazio
Fee: $4 per person
To Register: SIGN UP ONLINE or call (253) 305-1088
 

Tacoma Giants: Part 2
Immersion Tree Walk

Jul. 15, Aug. 26, Sep. 30, Oct. 21, Nov. 11, Dec. 9
11 am-1 pm
Did you know that there are living beings over 200 feet tall residing right here in Point Defiance Park? Immerse yourself into the world of living natural history and fall in love with the infinite shades of green in this in-depth look into the biology and history of the trees of Point Defiance. Meet the instructor at the Fort Nisqually Picnic Shelter. Please dress appropriately for the weather, as this program will take place outside and require about 1 mile of walking.
Fee: $8 per person
To Register: SIGN UP ONLINE or call (253) 305-1088
 

Coffee with the Birds

Jun. 17, Jul. 22, Aug. 19, Sep. 16, Oct. 14, Nov. 18
9-10:30 am

Bring your coffee mug and enjoy the birds of Point Defiance Park. Meet the Park Ranger just before 9 am for a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Tahoma Audubon will have a binocular library for participants to check-out binoculars for the duration of the bird walk at no additional cost. Perfect for everyone from beginner birders, to experts looking to connect with the birding community over hot coffee. You’re guaranteed to see birds with your coffee, thanks to real bird specimens provided by the Slater Museum of Natural History. Please dress for the weather, and don't forget your coffee mug! Lift Bridge Coffee will be providing free coffee and hot chocolate.

  • May 6 – Shorebirds, Meet at Owen Beach
  • June 17 – Songbirds, Meet at Northwest Native Plant Garden
  • July 22 – Songbirds, Meet at Northwest Native Plant Garden
  • August 19 – Woodpeckers & Cavity Nesters, Meet at the Rhododendron Garden
  • September 16 – Mixed Flocks & Fall Migration, Meet at the Fort Nisqually Picnic Shelter. Be prepared to walk for up to 1 mile.
  • Oct 14 – Madrone Fruit Frenzy; Meet at the Fort Nisqually Picnic Shelter. Be prepared to walk for up to 1 mile.
  • Nov 18 – Seabirds; Meet at the Owen Beach shelter. Be prepared to walk on the beach for up to ¾ of a mile.

Fee: $4 per person.
To Register: SIGN UP ONLINE or call (253) 305-1088

Forest Mindfulness

Jul. 30
10 am-1 pm

Learn to slow down and experience the forest in a new way. Led by Certified Forest Therapist Julie Hepp, this program is designed to take participants slowly and intentionally through nature. The Guide gives a series of place-based invitations to connect to your senses, to yourself, and to others. Through the place-based invitations, the participants interact in 20-30 minute increments of reflective and imaginative interaction in order to gain a deeper appreciation of the many living and non-living things in Point Defiance through moving slowly, and mindfully through the trails. Participants should dress for the weather and bring snacks and water for this outdoor program. Ages 10+
Location: Meet at Fort Nisqually Picnic Shelter parking lot.
Fee: $30 per person
To Register: SIGN UP ONLINE or call (253) 305-1088
 

Making a Point - Living History Presentations

Jul. 23
4-5 pm

Get to know the key characters who turned Point  Defiance into a Park: Allen C. Mason, Rep. Francis Cushman, and Edith May Ferris, brought to life by local history interpreters Walter Neary, Patrick Haas, and Karen Haas. Presentation followed by a book sale in the Point Defiance Visitors Center, with titles including "Tacoma's Point Defiance Park" and "Tacoma's Parks".
Fee: FREE!
 

Who Lived in the House in the Park? - Living History Presentations

Aug. 20
4-5 pm

Have you ever wondered who lived in the old house in the middle of Point Defiance Park? Get to know three characters from its rich history: Ebenezer Roberts, Floyd Owen, and Trillium Roberts, brought to life by local history interpreters Lawrence Bradley, Jerry Eckrom, and Melissa McGinnis. Presentation followed by book sale and signing by co-author of "Tacoma's Point Defiance Park", Melissa McGinnis>
Fee: FREE!

Historic Structures and Sites of Point Defiance Park

August 11
10-11:30 am

Join  Metro Parks Historic and Cultural Resource Manager Melissa McGinnis on a tour of the structures and sites still lremainning from the early days of Point Defiance Park. Approximately 0.75 mile of walking required.
Fee: Free!
To Register: SIGN UP ONLINE or call (253) 305-1088
 

REI Navigation 101: Understanding Your Map and Compass

Jul. 9, Aug. 6
2-5 pm

Come learn basic navigation skills using map and compass to find your way. During this outing, we'll help you see three dimensions of the land on the two dimensions of a topographic map by teaching you how to read contour lines, landmarks and other map features. We'll also talk about magnetic north, true north, and magnetic variation (declination), and help you make sense of it all. Maps and compasses will be provided, but bring your own if you prefer.
Fee: REI Member $40 per person / Non-REI Member $60 per person
Sign up online at REI.com/learn
 

REI Intro to Map and Compass

Jul. 29, Sep. 10
9 am-3 pm

During this field outing, we'll help you see three dimensions of the land in the two dimensions of a topographic map by teaching you how to read contour lines, landmarks and other map features. We'll also talk about magnetic north, true north, and magnetic variation (declination), and help you make sense of it all. from there, you'll learn how to take a bearing from the terrain and your map so tht you can triangulate your position and plan a route. Maps and compasses will be provided.
Fee: REI Member $60 per person / Non-REI Member $80 per person
Sign up online at REI.com/learn
 

REI Intro to GPS

Aug. 5, Sep. 9
9 am-3 pm

Head out into the field for a day of hands-on navigation training with our REI Outdoor School GPS instructors. You'll practice pinpointing your location, marking waypoints, plotting courses and creating routes in the outdoors. Learn to transfer information from the GPS to your map and from the map to the GPS. If you own a GPS unit, please bring it to get detailed instruction on its features. We recommend you attend a Map and Compass Basics class, or have a solid understanding of map and compass skills, prior to this outing.
Fee: REI Member $60 per person / Non-REI Member $80 per person
Sign up online at REI.com/learn
 

REI Wilderness Survival Training

Jul. 9, Aug. 6, Aug. 26
9 am-1 pm

Join REI Outdoor School for a wilderness self-reliance class that could save your life. During this class you will learn practical tips and strategies that every outdoor traveler should know, including emergency priorities; how to make an emergency shelter, how to locate and access drinking water, and how to make your own emergency kit with al lthe essentials. You will also participate in interactive scenarios to practice and hone your skills. This class is designed for anyone who spends time outdoors.
Fee: REI Member $40 per person / Non-REI Member $60 per person
Sign up online at REI.com/learn