Tacoma’s Wright Park

 

Tucked away near downtown Tacoma is one of the most magical parks I’ve ever visited.

It has history, festivals, fountains, a conservatory, statues and every tree imaginable.

To think when I first moved here I was told to avoid the area because of possible crime and homeless people.

I’m actually happy I was warned not to go there, since that means the warners likely won’t go and it’ll be less crowded!

Catarina loves playing in leaves, and there are a lot in Wright Park.
Catarina loves playing in leaves, and there are a lot in Wright Park.
Wright Park was created in 1886 when the Tacoma Land Company donated 20 acres to the city of Tacoma. It was named after president of the company, Charles B. Wright, and eventually grew to its present size of 27 acres.

Throughout the next 44 years more than 300 trees from North America and Europe were planted in the park, the lawn bowling (bocce ball!) court built in 1934, statues collected by Tacoma resident Col. Clinton P. Ferry were donated to the park – including the magnificent white lions on the 6th street entrance – and the Seymour Conservatory was opened (1908).

One of the two lion statues at the 6th avenue entrance to Wright Park.
One of the two lion statues at the 6th avenue entrance to Wright Park.
While some of the original tree plantings were destroyed in the famous Columbus Day windstorm in 1962, many magnificent trees still stand today and have signs telling parkgoers what type of tree they are looking at.

The park is our favorite location to visit in the fall, for the variety of color and windswept leaves adorning the grounds.

The Seymour Conservatory in Wright Park is filled with hundreds of plants from around the world.
The Seymour Conservatory in Wright Park is filled with hundreds of plants from around the world.
It is also stunning to visit in the spring as the flora slowly comes back to life from the long winter.

We’ve only visited the conservatory once, but it is really neat and worth a trip to Tacoma. The conservatory opened in 1908, and features a 12-sided glass dome. It has 250 plant species, more than 200 orchids, and between 300-500 blooming displays. It also features tropical plants from all over the world.

There is lots of color in the trees at Wright Park.
There is lots of color in the trees at Wright Park.
Wright Park also has a large playground, basketball courts, a spray park and is the site of Ethnic Fest, which we visited earlier in the summer.

The Park does have lots of homeless people in it, but we’ve certainly never felt unsafe.

– Craig Craker

If you go
Location: Wright Park is located between Division Street and 6th Avenue near the Stadium District in Tacoma.
When: Year round, though our favorite time is in the fall when the 300 trees feature distinct color.
What: A 27-acre arboretum park with a conservatory, playground, a variety of trees, spray park, pond with fountains, and a lawn bowling court.
Fees: None, though the conservatory recommends a $3 donation.
Kid-friendly: Definitely.

 

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