'Tis the season to experience our parks

By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index

My grand kids live in a Tacoma incomparably different from the Tacoma I grew up in. What I knew as a toxic, fenced off blight, they know as Point Ruston.

They have always been walking distance to two, if not three, local parks or playgrounds.

Did you know that Metro Parks of Tacoma operates over 100 parks? You can see a map of them here – https://www.metroparkstacoma.org/facilities/search.php?&page=1.

I know someone who had as his goal last summer to take his children to every city park in Tacoma. Even if you could visit two or three in a day or weekend, it would be a challenge to fit them all in on a summer schedule.

If you look at this list, you will see many familiar favorites, but you might also discover some new special places.

Tacoma’s parks have different themes, activities and possibilities.

Photo by Morf Morford
Photo by Morf Morford

As summer gets closer, use your kids (or your dog, or your neighbors kids) as an excuse to get outside and experience the parks Tacoma has to offer.

Did you know Tacoma has ten spray ground parks? You can see them here – https://www.metroparkstacoma.org/spraygrounds/.

Besides Metro Parks, don’t forget Pierce County Parks. You can see a list of them here – https://www.metroparkstacoma.org/facilities/search.php?&page=1.

Besides these immediately accessible parks, consider some of our parks that require a bit more planning.

Did you know that TPU (Tacoma Public Utilities) owns and operates several parks that offer fishing and camping?

You can see them here – https://www.mytpu.org/tacomapower/parks-recreation/.

For a selection of photos of Tacoma’s parks reaching all the way back to the 1890s, check out the historic photo archive here – https://www.metroparkstacoma.org/news/?y=2018&id=2186.

You could also show a little love for our parks by volunteering on April 21, Parks Appreciation Day. The event begins at 9 am and runs until noon. Kids (and their near infinite energy) of all ages are welcome. Under the direction of Metro Parks staff members, volunteers might:

Spread mulch in flower beds

Lay gravel on trails

Cut back invasive Himalayan blackberries

Pull out English ivy

Pick up litter or help with landscaping

Bring work gloves if you have them, hand tools will be provided, but you may bring your own shovels, rakes or pruning shears.

Don’t forget to dress for the weather.

Work sites are at eight parks.

Swan Creek Park, East 42nd St. and East Roosevelt Ave. (Volunteers will meet near the community garden.)

Point Defiance Park, 5400 N. Pearl St. (Meet near the Visitors Center.)

McKinley Park, 907 Upper Park St. (Meet at the Upper Park Street entrance.)

Charlotte’s Blueberry Park, 7402 East D. St. (Meet at the entrance.)

Tacoma Nature Center, 1919 S. Tyler St.

STAR Center, 3873 S. 66th St. (Meet in the parking lot.)

Titlow Park, 8425 6th Ave., (Meet at lot near the sprayground.)

Browns Point Playfield, 4915 La Hal Da Lane NE.

Groups of 10 or more volunteers should register in advance via richardm@tacomaparks.com. Otherwise, just show up ready to do a little yard work.

In the greater Pierce County area there are many tiny (or not so tiny) local parks that are not to be missed.

Parks, like schools, are the ultimate investment in the future. They are the best gifts we could ever give our children. They are the living reminders that change is constant, but some things stay about the same.