Head down to the Point Defiance area and you’ll find construction happening all over the place. Between multiple projects going on at the zoo and aquarium, and a major overhaul of the Point Defiance/Ruston connection (more below) there’s plenty to see.

That’s why Reddit user SummitDweller took his drone out to capture the progress recently—and what he captured in part of the 253 just so happened to end up being two minutes and 53 seconds long.

Check it out:

What you’re seeing is the midst of “Destination Point Defiance,” a multiphase Metro Parks Tacoma project. The part shown here is transforming the formerly vacant land around the marina into a world-class waterfront. The work is happening in large part thanks to a 2014 voter-approved bond.

PDZA drawingElements to look forward to include Wilson Way, which is a bike and pedestrian bridge that knits together Point Defiance and Ruston Way. The bridge will include a series of access points to the waterfront park area, set to be 11 acres in size.

Already in use is Tacoma Public Schools’ new Science and Math Institute (SAMI), which is the result of a collaboration between Metro Parks and the school district. The Environmental Learning Center building includes two science labs, administrative space, space for zoo staff and volunteers, and an early learning center.

As for getting to this area, WSDOT and the City of Tacoma are partnering with Metro Parks on a roundabout at the Pearl Street entrance to the park that will improve the busy intersection.


Projects at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium include replacement of their 53-year-old North Pacific Aquarium, which was weakened by decades of salt water corrosion.

Renovation of the polar bear exhibit will improve health and safety features for animals and keepers, as well as further PDZA’s goal of welcoming more polar bears. The project includes a new sea lion exhibit, upgrades to animal life-support systems, and expanded animal viewing opportunities. Improvements to the Rocky Shores exhibit will focus on repairing decades old signs of deterioration and heavy use.

More information about all of the updates Metro Parks is working on in 2018 is available here.

Thanks to Reddit user SummitDweller for sharing this footage with Grit City Magazine. Artwork by Stephanie Bower for Site Workshop.

Posted by:Sara Kay

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