The 702-acre Point Defiance Park is a popular destination for about two million people each year. Natural forest, saltwater beaches and spectacular views offer numerous possibilities for recreation, education and communing with nature.
In 1888, U.S. President Grover Cleveland signed a bill granting Tacoma the right to use the 640 acres of Point Defiance, an undeveloped federal military reservation, as a city park.
A permanent zoo with the first bear pit, herds of elk, deer and bison were also featured in the park, a collection that developed into the present Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.
The zoo also hosts an annual festival of lights aptly named Zoolights.
Point Defiance Park continues to develop as Tacoma’s crown jewel of public spaces, fostering partnerships with horticultural, zoological, maritime, conservation and cultural organizations to ensure the vitality of this magnificent peninsula.
“We enter Point Defiance Park and roll down the long, windy hill to Owens Beach. We get out of the car to walk across the beached logs and stick our feet in the icy water. Kaylee, Jake and I used to come here a lot during the summers. We would just sit on the logs and talk, or walk down the beach and carve our names in the clay cliffs.” ~ Chapter Sixteen