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Explore Puget Sound’s summer low tides

June 28, 2018

Let Metro Parks Tacoma naturalists be your guides

Summer is the perfect season to scout out what’s revealed when the tide goes out along Puget Sound.

And Tacoma residents don’t even need to leave town to do it.

Metro Parks Tacoma offers free ways to enhance that experience. Follow along with trained naturalists who regularly guide low-tide explorations at two cherished beaches: Owen Beach in Point Defiance Park and Titlow Park beach at the west end of Sixth Avenue.

Tiptoe Through the Tidepools takes place at Titlow; Explore the Shore at Owen Beach.

You never know what beachcombers will encounter, but Metro Parks’ naturalist guides are eager to help identify the shore crabs, mussels, sea stars, anemones, chitons, sea cucumbers and worms that are part of the diverse ecosystem of the shoreline.

Each Tiptoe Through the Tidepools event puts a naturalist on the beach for a three-hour period when the tide is lowest. It’s great for families with small children and others who would prefer to dabble around in a limited area.

Explore the Shore, on the other hand, is a beach walk, recommended for explorers 5 and older. Each stroll lasts about 1 ½ hours and may cover as much as 1 ½ miles. Participants receive a field guide to critters commonly found along the shore.

Both beaches are studded with barnacle-encrusted rocks, so sturdy, closed-toe shoes are recommended, as are sunscreen and hats. There’s no need to register in advance, but Explore the Shore requires participants to check in at the beach, preferably before the beach walk begins.

Upcoming Tiptoe Through the Tidepools events are:

  • Friday, July 13, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, August 12, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Upcoming Explore the Shore walks are:

  • Thursday, July 12 at 10:15 a.m.
  • Friday, July 27 at 10:15 a.m.
  • Friday, August 10 at 10 a.m.

For more information about Tiptoe Through the Tidepools, call Tacoma Nature Center at (253) 404-3930 or go to the center's family programs web page.

For more information about Explore the Shore, contact Zach Hawn at (253) 404-3690 or

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