Every year, Money magazine partners with Yelp to come up with the best parks in each state and this year's winner for Washington is none other than the Point Defiance Park in Tacoma! The park features the only zoo & aquarium combo in the Pacific Northwest and includes stunning waterfront views and a public garden. What's not to love??
At Point Defiance Park, it is easy to find something that for anyone to enjoy! Admission to this beautiful park is free, but the zoo & aquarium require an additional fee of $17.95 for adults to visit for a day. Complete with forested hiking trails, sandy beaches, the park, encompasses a huge 760 acres area across the Tacoma peninsula. Every year, the park draws in over 3.1 million visitors, according to Tacoma's Metro Parks department. It is open every day, year round, from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
The park has a long history of being a gathering place for members of the community. Prior to 1888, the area was used as an undeveloped federal military reservation until President Cleveland granted the city rights to use it as a park. 10 years later, a lodge for the park superintendent was built as the first structure on the park grounds and the next year, in 1899, construction began on the zoo. Over the next 100 years, the park hosted a variety of different entertainment activities for the community including a pool, ferries, an amusement park, winter camps and Never Never Land, a children's storybook attraction. Major improvement projects were completed at the park during the Great Depression as a part of federal work relief programs.
Today, Point Defiance Park continues to develop as Tacoma's jewel of public spaces. Within the leadership at the park, there is a heavy focus on creating partnerships with conservation and cultural organizations to further the vitality of the peninsula. Currently, the park is undergoing some improvements, including a pedestrian bridge on Wilson Way that will connect the park to Ruston Way. The bridge is set to be completed later this year.
For more of the best parks in the US, check out the original article HERE!