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Tacoma's Point Defiance Park

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Point Defiance Park in Tacoma is more than a zoo. Point Defiance is 702 acres of hiking trails and attractions. Features visitors to Point Defiance can enjoy include a zoo and aquarium, Five-Mile Drive and multiple beaches and viewpoints.

Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium

The best-known attraction within this park is Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. It goes without saying that the zoo and aquarium is a great spot for those with kids, but the zoo can be fun for adults too. Resident animals are largely from the Northwest, but there are exceptions like tigers,  monkeys and a shark tank. Special events like Zoobilee and Zoo Lights take place at the zoo each year.

Five-Mile Drive

Five-Mile Drive is a multi-purpose trail around the perimeter of Point Defiance Park, open for walking, driving and biking year-round. Along the trail are several viewpoints looking out over the Puget Sound, some with mountains and the Narrows bridges in the distance. Five-Mile Drive goes past the zoo, Fort Nisqually and connects to paths leading down to Owen Beach - tracing a loop around the park. Inside this loop waits is a network of unpaved paths providing more hiking trails.

Owen Beach

Owen Beach is located just off Five-Mile Drive (watch for signs), or you can walk there along a promenade from the Point Defiance Boathouse Marina. In addition to the real sand beach, a wooden promenade, kayak rentals and a snack bar can be found at Owen Beach. As far as beaches in Tacoma go, Owen Beach is the ritziest there is.

Boathouse Marina

The marina at Point Defiance is a fine place to get in touch with your inner fisherperson. The bait and tackle shop offers rentals for the nearby free public fishing pier. Small boats are also available to rent. If you already have a boat, moorage rates are reasonable and the slips at the marina put you in close proximity to all things Point Defiance as well as Anthony's restaurant.


At the entrance to the park is a area ideal for letting dogs or kids run free. Within sight of the entrance are several gardens worth checking out, including a rose garden, rhododendron garden and a Japanese garden.

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