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Things to do at the Tacoma Nature Center

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bridge at tacoma nature center in tacoma washington
cool forest wood playground at the tacoma nature center

Tacoma Nature Center has more than 2 acres of walking trails along with 70 acres of forest and wetlands. The Tacoma Nature Center features wetlands, guided trails, nature center, and a fun park for the kids to play. This is a great place to take your little ones for free to explore nature and have fun. 

In this post you will get all the info on the Tacoma Nature Center, so that you can easily plan your day trip.  

What is the Tacoma Nature Center?

 The Tacoma nature center includes more than two miles of trails through 70 acres of forest. The nature center has a map that you can pull up on your phone from the website to guide you. Also there are signs with animals all throughout the trail to help you know where you are. 

What are the trail options and how long are they ?

There are 3 ways that you can go:

  •  Self guided forest walk: Hillside loop – to the viewpoint ( we hiked this trail)
  • Self-guided forest walk : The trail around snake lake
  • Self- guided history walk:The trail around the lake towards the 2nd. Bridge 

Can kids do the hike up the trail ?

tacoma nature center kids hiking

Yes! kids can absolutely hike up the trail. 

I went on the hike with my four-year-old and my nine year old and they both were able to walk all the way up to the top and we were able to see a view of the Tacoma and the freeway. 

Then we walked all the way back down and they played at the playground (kids have endless energy, especially when they’re excited). They were not tired at all and we don’t usually take hikes so this was an achievement for them. 

Where is Tacoma Nature Center?

 Tacoma nature center is located 

 1919 S Tyler St, Tacoma, WA  98405

How much is admission to Tacoma Nature Center? 

Admission to Tacoma Nature Center is FREE!

When is the park open?

 The center/park is open from 10AM to 2pm. Daily unless otherwise noted on their website. 

The trails are open from 8am to 30 minutes after sunset. 

Is there parking at Tacoma Nature Center?

Yes there is a dedicated FREE parking lot right on the property. 

What is the best season to visit Tacoma Nature Center?

The best season to visit is in the springtime, where it’s not too hot or too cold.

What is the contact information?

If you have any questions or comments contact is (253)404-3930 or e-mail at

More information at their official website

What should I bring with me when I visit the nature center?

  • Water,water,water
  • Easy to open snacks
  • Sun hat ( on sunny days) 
  • Shoes appropriate for hiking. (sneakers)
  • Light clothes for summer
  • Portable potty if needed during hike. ( there are restrooms at the center. 
  • Layered clothes during the cooler months. 

Is there a playground at Tacoma Nature Center?

cool wood playground at tacoma nature center in taocoma washington
cool metal slide with wood at playground at tacoma nature center in tacoma washington

Yes, it’s called the Discovery Pond area and it is awesome!  It is located right next to the parking lot. There are two separate playgrounds, One playground is suitable for older kids and the other one is more suitable for the younger kids.

 The older kids playground  features plenty of areas to climb and a metal slide. As you walk across to the younger kids play area there is a small pond, seating area and a cool tree house playground. This playground really sticks to the nature theme which makes it really fun for the kids.

What restaurants do you recommend in the area?

  • Chick-fil-a – ( 1.6 miles away )
  • Lil Caesars Pizza ( 1.2 miles away)
  • Taco Time ( 1.6 miles away) 
  • McDonalds (1.1 miles away)
  • Taco Bell (1.8 miles )
  • Ivar’s Seafood Bar (1.7 miles away)

Where is the closest grocery store?

The closest grocery store is Fred Meyer and is less than .5 mile away. Right across the street from the nature center. 

There is also a Walmart and Target 5 minutes away . 

Are there restrooms on site?

Yes, there is a restroom on the main upper level of the center. 

Why should you visit Tacoma Nature?

tacoma nature center
little rock cling area at the discovery pond area tacoma nature center
  • Explore Nature 
  • Learn about nature and animals at the center. 
  • Have an adventure with your kids
  • Great first hike for kids 
  • Help kids set a goal of hiking to the top and reaching that goal.
  • kids can play on the playground. 

How to get to the Nature Center:

There are few ways that you can get here. You can drive by car, if you live close enough you can walk, there is also a bus stop near the center. Another option is to use an Uber or you can do a Lyft. 


The Tacoma Nature Center is a great way to help your kids connect with nature. Not only do they get to walk through the wetlands and the forest they can also learn about all the aspects of nature.

Looking for more things to do in Tacoma check out Wright Park and Wapato Park for a fun family outing.