Alert: program & facility updates

Washington State Face Covering Requirement: Under Gov. Inslee’s public health directive, every person in Washington must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth in indoor and outdoor public settings, beginning June 26. Learn more

To view opening timelines on a mobile device scroll down to mobile-friendly buttons.

Opening Timelines for Facilities, Amenities and Programs

  • Amenities
  • Facilities
  • Programs

Reopening is contingent on current conditions, adequate resources, available staffing, and dates are subject to change.
See the FAQ below for more information.

Reopening is contingent on current conditions, adequate resources, available staffing, and dates are subject to change.
See the FAQ below for more information.

Reopening is contingent on current conditions, adequate resources, available staffing, and dates are subject to change.
See the FAQ below for more information.

Using a mobile device? Use these buttons to view timelines:

Our parks are open for walking, running, cycling and enjoying nature

Open with limited services

There is not yet a projected opening date for certain amenities such as restrooms, playgrounds, picnic shelters, Five Mile Drive, parking lots, and others.

These areas are closed to protect the safety of our community and our employees by limiting crowds and reducing potential contact with high-touch surfaces.

Opening dates are influenced by safety and budget considerations

Metro Parks faces a projected revenue shortfall due to the financial impacts of COVID-19. As a result, nearly 80% of our staff are currently laid-off or furloughed. Additionally, directives from the governor and public health officials will continue to limit certain park uses and cap the number of program participants throughout each phase of the state’s recovery plan.

As a result, many of our programs and activities within our parks and facilities will be significantly modified through the summer.

Guidelines for visiting parks during COVID-19

Parks & trails remain open for walking, running, and enjoying nature, but please remember that they are great places for solitary recreation not for group activities. If it’s crowded, choose another trail, beach or park to visit. Maintain a distance of 6 feet from others. Read more about social distancing at www.tpchd.org/coronavirus.

Taking personal responsibility for yourself and your family can go a long way toward helping you stay healthy:

  • Think First: Stay home if you are sick or have symptoms.
  • Wash Hands: Wash your hands before coming to the park, carry hand sanitizer and avoid touching picnic tables, railings and benches.
  • Keep Your Distance: Maintain 6 feet between yourself and others and give warning before passing on the trail. Please bypass busy areas for quieter ones.
  • Come Prepared: Bring your own drinking water, carry out your trash and be prepared for restroom closures.
  • Respect Closures: Playgrounds, restrooms, sports courts, picnic shelters, skate parks, and other amenities are closed for public safety.

Frequently Asked Questions

Restrooom & Portable Toilet Information

Why are park restrooms closed?

  1. Concern for the public and our employees.
    By closing the restrooms we are eliminating a common place where the virus is spread. Restrooms are high-touch areas and will remain closed, as we are not able to provide the level of servicing recommended right now, due to limited protective supplies and staffing.
  2. Inability to keep them clean.
    We don’t want you to use dirty restrooms and we’re pretty sure you don’t want that either. COVID-19 has had a profound financial impact on Metro Parks, projected to cause a $13 million shortfall in our 2020 operating revenues.  We are operating the parks with only 22% of our staff which makes it impossible to clean the restrooms often enough to protect public safety.
  3. Repairs are needed.
    Several of our restrooms were vandalized when toilet paper and soap dispensers were destroyed by individuals attempting to steal them.

We’re all in this together, and with all of us working together we can come through it stronger and get back to the easy escapes we’ve come to rely on in our parks.

Please understand that we are making decisions based not only on Governor Inslee announcements but also on how can we best manage the budget shortfall that we’re experiencing. We appreciate your patience during this complicated and uncertain time.

Portable Toilets

We understand the need for restrooms and have placed porta-potty stations in 17 of our highest use areas. Each station has one standard unit, one accessible unit and a hand washing station. These are serviced 3 times per day and will remain in place until our year-round restrooms open on July 15.

Portable toilets are located at:

Dash Point Pier
Franklin Park
Kandle Park
Manitou Park
Point Defiance Boat Launch
Point Defiance Dune Peninsula
Point Defiance near trailhead (at end of Zoo parking lot B)
Ruston Way Les Davis Pier
Ruston Way Old Town Dock
Ruston Way Waterwalk
STAR Center
Stewart Heights Park
Swan Creek Gathering Area
Titlow Park – near sprayground
Verlo Park
Wapato Park – near 72nd street
Wright Park – near restroom building

Will pools open this summer?

Outdoor pools will remain closed this season.

Not only do requirements for social distancing significantly reduce revenue potential by drastically reducing normal pool capacity, the unknown timing for transitioning to Phase 3 and required start up time to prep the pools and train staff do not pencil out for a financially sound operation this summer.

When will community centers open?

Community Centers will remain closed through the summer.

The anticipated opening of the Community Centers is projected to be September or October. The ongoing restrictions related to indoor gatherings, the feedback from our recent survey indicating the majority of respondents aren’t comfortable returning to indoor activities just yet, and the financial shortfalls of the district, all combined to project a later opening date. Coupled with the existing projected revenue shortfall, it has become apparent that we won’t be able to reopen until well into Phase 4.

Will Spraygrounds open this summer?

Spraygrounds will remain closed this season.

These highly interactive and heavily used spaces require parents to control social distancing and can be extremely challenging in the midst of water play. Additionally, the systems require staffing to monitor UV treatment controls and perform other safety measures. With just one-third of normal summer staffing, we do not have the capacity to operate these safely this year.

What kind of park maintenance is being done?

With a few exceptions, most Metro Parks operations are focused for now on essential services, such as ensuring the public’s safety in parks by addressing basic maintenance needs.

Turf will brown out as irrigation will be reduced by about 49 million gallons.

This is necessary to minimize growth and limit the amount of mowing needed throughout our 70 park properties. Our usually lush green lawns will likely brown out as summer heats up. This is necessary as our parks crews will be approximately one-third of normal staffing levels as we enter peak season next month.

Gardens are being minimally maintained.

  • The Dahlia Society continues with their maintenance program.
  • The Rose Society and Rhododendron Society has stopped coming in for now.
  • Iris & Fuchsia Societies have done some work.
  • The Native Garden has had some work done as well.
  • Our staff does what they can as time allows. Irrigation, mowing some turf and minimal weeding or pruning.

Why is Point Defiance Park closed?

Why is Point Defiance Park closed?

  • Point Defiance Park is open for walking, running and bicycling but is currently closed to vehicles due to reduced staffing levels and severe budget constraints from COVID-19.
  • More than two-thirds of staff in the parks division have been laid off or furloughed.
  • The skeleton summer crew is focused on essential safety and maintenance only at this time.
  • The limited staff working in Point Defiance Park do not have capacity to clean restrooms, empty garbage cans, pick up litter, mow and do all of the other regular summer maintenance duties that are required to open the park.

Will Point Defiance Park open at all this summer?

Will Point Defiance Park open at all this summer?

  • Metro Parks staff are exploring how to safely and cost-effectively reopen some of the major parking lots in Point Defiance Park later this summer.
  • Discussions are underway but no dates have been set. We’re tentatively looking at mid-July.
  • The outer loop of Five Mile Drive will remain closed to vehicles through the summer to allow people to walk, run and bicycle.

Will I receive a refund for canceled programs?

Program refunds

  • Due to the temporary closure of Metro Parks Tacoma facilities, customers will be withdrawn from all activities that they are registered for through May 25, 2020 (Memorial Day). Any payments for these activities will be credited to their accounts. Please be patient with this process as there are many programs involved and the situation is made more difficult by working remotely with the team separated.
  • For programs that have been canceled in their entirety, customers will receive a full refund. Refunds will be processed as a credit on the customer’s Metro Parks Tacoma account.
  • Questions about refunds? Contact reg.support@tacomaparks.com or (253) 305-1030

What is the facility reservation cancelation policy?

Facility Rentals

As you are aware, the current COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching and dramatic effects on our community and across the nation. We understand that this may be impacting our customers in many different ways, not the least of which is those who have rentals booked at our facilities.

If you currently have a May or June rental our staff will contact you to reschedule to a later date. If you are unable to reschedule we will work with you to issue a full refund. We are currently only processing rentals through the end of June.

Questions? Call (253) 305-1090

Am I still paying for my community center membership?

Community Center Memberships

  • In light of the Governor’s orders to close recreational facilities as part of the effort to slow the spread of coronavirus in our community, all active community center memberships have been put on hold during this closure.
  • Community center members will not incur any charges from March 17 until the centers are able to reopen for business. Rest assured, we anxiously await the opportunity to welcome and serve you in our centers again.
  • Should you have any questions about your membership please contact us:

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department continues to update its website with the latest and most accurate information, including what to do if you feel sick or have come into contact with someone with the COVID-19/coronavirus. https://www.tpchd.org/healthy-people/human-coronavirus

Posted In: Alerts, COVID-19, Places, Programs