Point Defiance Park visitors center, park shuttle service to open Memorial Weekend

For the first time in Point Defiance Park’s more than century of service, visitors will have a central stopping point to learn all about the park’s history, recreation opportunities and rare natural areas.

On May 25, the historic Point Defiance Lodge will become home to the new Visitor’s Center. The center will be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the summer. Park guests can tour the interpretive exhibits, talk with a park ambassador, or hop aboard the seasonal shuttle to eight destinations throughout the 702-acre park.

The idea was born out of the Ambassador program which added weekend guides to greet guests at the information kiosk at the park’s entrance.

“This park has a rich history and we quickly realized that it offers so much more than many of our visitors realized,” said Parks Superintendent Marina Becker. “We’re all really excited about creating this experience in the lodge, so that all of our visitors have a chance to experience this special place from the park’s history.”

The Visitor’s Center will be the first stop of eight destinations. On Saturdays and Sundays park visitors will be able to use the complementary shuttle service to access the park. The service is a pilot to help move guests between activities located throughout the 702-acre jewel. Now you’ll be able to hop off to the temporary moorage at the marina and hop on the shuttle for a ride to Fort Nisqually Living History Museum. You can start with a garden tour in the bowl and catch the shuttle at the Visitor’s Center for a lift to the Outer Loop of Five Mile Drive where you can hike through the park’s majestic ancient-forest. Or, after your family reunion at Owen Beach, grab the kids and head to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. The shuttle is anticipated to run hourly and is a great way to “get from here to there” without searching for parking.

Want to learn more about the Park’s history and natural areas? As part of the opening celebration, free guided tours will take place on Sat., May 26. Stop by the Visitor’s Center for details.

For more information, visit http://www.metroparkstacoma.org/page.php?id=24 .