Northwest Trek turns 35 this weekend

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park turns 35 this year, and the park is throwing a birthday party on Sat., July 17.

“We’re celebrating 35 years of wildlife, conservation and fun on Saturday,” said Northwest Trek deputy director Dave Ellis. “We are honored to have been a part of this community for so long, and we want to share our excitement with park visitors that day.”

As part of the celebration, visitors will have the chance to see animals devour birthday treats at designated times and take part in time-honored birthday-themed activities with a Trek twist. The park-wide activities are free with admission and include birthday games, face-painting, arts and crafts and goody bags filled with Northwest Trek prizes. The bears will receive their enrichment at 10:30 a.m., the beaver at 1 p.m., the coyotes at 2 p.m. and a special trailside encounter at 3:30 p.m.

And it wouldn’t be a birthday party without some presents! So Northwest Trek has registered at for items needed by the wildlife park’s zoological, education and maintenance departments. Gift cards to grocery stores, hardware stores and craft stores are also appreciated.

In 1971, Dr. David and Connie Hellyer donated more than 500 acres of forested land to Metro Parks Tacoma. The couple aimed to create a park that would display North American wildlife in natural environments to people of all ages. After four years of diligent planning and intense fundraising, Metro Parks Tacoma opened Northwest Trek to the public on July 17, 1975. More than four million visitors from around the world have visited the park to view such idyllic sights as caribou galloping through meadows, bull elk clashing during their annual rut and bison calves nursing from their mothers.