Point Defiance Park is rated as one of the largest urban parks in the entire United States. The park is located in the city of Tacoma, Washington and offers 702-acres that include a zoo and aquarium, rose garden, rhododendron garden, a museum, beaches, boardwalks, a boathouse, a Washington State Ferries ferry dock, and an abundance of old growth trees and forest. There are over two million visitors that frequent the park annually.
The gardens in the park are open from dawn to dusk and boast acres upon acres of sculptured waterfalls, flowers, and lush greenery. Thematic gardens in Point Defiance include a Japanese Garden that includes an oriental footbridge, Japanese lanterns, Japanese cherry trees, large and small pine trees, and a small tea house that adds to the character and oriental charm. An herb garden at Point Defiance provides a great opportunity learn how to grow and display herbs. The herb garden contains two beds that contain more than 150 perennial plants that are known to flourish in the Puget Sound area. The garden was established by the Herb Gardeners of Tacoma and continues to be maintained by the club's members. The focal point of the park is the more than acre of rose gardens. The site includes miniature roses, large arbors of wild climbing roses, a wishing well and gazebos. The garden has been accredited by the American Rose Society as an All American Rose display garden.
The park is home to the Point Defiance Marina and the boathouse is situated on the northeast side of the park. Here visitors will find free public fishing piers, boat and motor rentals, bait and tackle, a public boat launch, souvenir and gift shop, fuel sales, and guest moorage. The fishing piers are located at the Boathouse and open year round from sunrise to sunset. A tackle and gift shop is open 363 days a year and is an authorized Washington state fishing and hunting license vendor. Souvenirs and snacks are also found at the bait shop.
Owen Beach is one of Point Defiance Park's most popular destinations. Owen Beach offers waterfront picnic shelters, grills, picnic tables, public restrooms, and lots of free parking. A large picnic shelter is available for rental and is great for parties, reunions, or events. Kayak rentals at Owen Beach are available daily, weather permitting.
Also located within the park is the Fort Nisqually living history museum where volunteers and staff demonstrate life and crafts of the 19th century through events and shows. Fort Nisqually was the first European settlement on Puget Sound. With a diverse work force of American, English, French Canadian, Hawaiian, Irish, Native American, and Scottish laborers, Fort Nisqually was a bustling center of trade that expanded into a large scale agricultural enterprise.
The Point Defiance Zoo is also located within the park's vicinity. The zoo is the only combined facility with an on-site aquarium in all of the Northwest. Here you will see seahorses and sharks, and penguins and tigers all in one place.
Read about other Tacoma tourist attractions:
- Tacoma Dome - Tacoma, Washington - Premier concert venue in the Pacific Northwest
- Tacoma Mall - Tacoma, Washington - Popular Shopping Center in the Heart of Tacoma
- Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium - Tacoma, Washington - mid-sized zoo and aquarium along the Pacific coast
- Museum of Glass - Tacoma, Washington - Glass Museum with Hands-On Opportunities and Workshops
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