I hadn't been to Garfield park in a few years, when a call from Pierson of Walk the Waterfront reminded me of its existence. This is kind of a hidden park, tucked into a pocket behind Annie Wright School (which cooperatively maintains it, and uses it for their athletics program) and leading nearly all the way down to the water. It's in a truly gorgeous spot in the middle of one of the most beautiful neighborhoods on Puget Sound.
There are a few reasons why I was avoiding this park: the playground has a sand base and a drainage problem, and it's a de facto off-leash dog park. Since it's not an official off-leash dog park, there's no fence between the playground and the dogs. For the most part though, this is OK as long as all the dog owners are responsible. This aspect of the park freaked me out more when I had toddlers.
Within the park, there are trails leading into and alongside of Garfield Gulch, a small green belt Walk the Waterfront is planning to help clean up in the Spring. We didn't find the path to the waterfront, but we did take a little walk along the gulch, not as long as my eldest would have liked and longer than my youngest wanted. On the way back to the playground, they started disagreeing loudly about what to do next and I remembered why I keep trips with both of them to uncomplicated locations with one choice of activity.
Anyway, before the fight cut our trip short my youngest had a chance to show me this cannon, which she tells me is "Probly something old" and we did get to enjoy a little bit of fun at the playground. I think I'll be back with one or the other child or possibly with their dad, so they can split up.
The playground-maker Kompan plans to donate and install a brand new playground at Garfield Park soon; the old equipment will be recycled into other Tacoma parks.
400 N Borough Rd. / North D St. at N Borough Rd.