Fort Lewis, WA


Other Installations > Fort Lewis, WA > Parks & Beaches & Zoos
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Fort Lewis, WA Fort Lewis, WA Housing
            PARKS & BEACHES & ZOOS          RELOCATION
Parks & Beaches & Zoos

Point Defiance Park is a bundle of features, including miles of walking trails, several gardens (a rose garden, a Japanese garden, a rhododendron garden, and others), old growth trees, wildlife habitat, and on the edge of the park a go-kart track and some athletic facilities, the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum and...

The Point Defiance Park Zoo & Aquarium features a large local zoo with over 350 species of animals, and an aquarium. Exhibits include an Asian Forest, Arctic, local habitat, and a kid-friendly zone. Part of the zoo organization, but on the other end of the county, is Northwest Trek, an open air wildlife display focused on the Pacific Northwest.

The Tacoma Nature Center is a 71 acre nature trail and education park, near the center of Tacoma, only 15 or so minutes from base.

Other zoos and nature centers in the greater Seattle area include the Woodland Park Zoo, the Cougar Mountain Zoo, and the Seattle Aquarium.

The Tacoma area has a number of well equipped parks, including Titlow Beach, in University Place; Wright Park, home of the W. W. Seymour Botanical Gardens and the Wright Park Arboretum; Fort Steilacoom Park, a large park about 15 minutes away the west side of base, with a lake, soccer and baseball fields, a dog park, and a playground; Bresemann Forest and Sprinker Recreation Center, on the east side of base, features a recreation center with baseball, tennis, soccer, ice skating, football, basketball, and other sports facilities; and Chambers Creek Regional Park (in University Place) has 900+ acres of walking trails, a beach, and a golf course with a very large water hazard to the west.

There are a lot of lakes in the land of steady rain, including American Lake, Gravelly Lake, Steilacoom Lake, Spanaway Lake, all these only in the immediate neighborhood of McChord; boaters should be able to find a place to float. If you're in the mood for a cool swim, there is also Lake Cushman (about an hour's drive), with pristine views.

The Wright Park Arboretum and W. W. Seymour Botanical Gardens are both in Wright Park, and feed the need for green growing things, in a classic old greenhouse setting. The Gardens focus on more exotic plants, and the Arboretum on trees.

Mount Rainier can go weeks without showing from behind clouds, but once it does appear you can't miss it or mistake it for any other mountain, and it is visible most places on the east shore of Puget Sound, and is often just called The Mountain. The Mountain is an inactive volcano not expected to wake up, and is surrounded by miles of national parkland. Camping, hiking, and general outdoor activities are available. The Mountain is the largest of the Cascades. Skiing, hunting, and camping are generally available - see sports, below.

The Nisqually Wildlife Refuge is a large estuary area sheltering a large variety of wildlife, especially migrating birds. Wildlife watching is encouraged; limited hunting and fishing is allowed (see sports section for more information).

Puget Sound is a large inland waterway threading through the heart of central western Washington and providing navigable water for hundreds of miles of shoreline. Tacoma has the furthest south deepwater port of the Sound, and Seattle the largest.

Further afield is the Olympic Peninsula, made famous for its old-growth forests and serene coastlines. WIth unparalleled scenery, the sites to see here are the Hoh Rainforest, Ruby Beach, and Cape Flattery.

Also on the Peninsula is Port Townsend. A beautiful Victorian town worthy of a visit in its own right, the town features Fort Worden, an elaborate series of bunkers dating from the First and Second World Wars. Entry to the bunkers is permitted, but a flashlight is required for many sites. It is a must see site for both military history buffs and children alike.
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