There is so much to discover at Discovery Park located at 3801 Discovery Park Blvd, Seattle, WA. Take the 2.8 mile loop to check things out or zig zag yourself through the park on the nearly 12 miles of hiking trails. First thing to do is stop at the visitors center at the East parking lot. They have some children focused nature exhibits there as well as maps of the Park. They can also help you plan out your visit.
This 534 acre park sits on the site of Fort Lawton built in 1898. Many buildings from the Fort’s glory days are still there. The Army Fort operated as a third line of defense from 1902-1927. Fort Flagler in Port Townsend & Fort Casey on Whidbey Island were the first and second lines of defense.
In 1927 the fort was considered for conversion to a city park, but by 1940 the Fort found itself back in service as a temporary World War II POW camp. The facility saw 1,150 German and 5,000 Italian POWS pass through in route to Hawaii for confinement. The Fort also operated as a staging ground for troops in route to European battlefields. During the Korean War the Fort again found itself in use for staging. Near the East parking lot you can visit the Fort’s historic cemetery. The Air force still has a radar located in the Park. It resembles a giant golf ball.
In the 1970s the facility was finally converted to a Park. Seventeen acres to the North of the Park was leased to United Native Tribes. This group of indigenous people established the Daybreak Star Cultural-Education Center.
Follow the trail down to the beach to visit the West Point Lighthouse built in 1881. If the steep walk back up to the park is not for you, use their free shuttle that runs from the lighthouses to the upper parking lots. Check the shuttle schedule at the visitor center before you depart. The beach is absolutely gorgeous. I saw several Blue Herons fishing in the shallows. The day I visited the waters hosted a great many of elegant sail boats. Creating a picturesque landscape with the Olympics in the back ground. Look to the South on a clear day and you can gaze upon majestic Mount Rainer.
There is so much to visit at this park. The views from the bluff are breathtaking, the beach and lighthouse are magnificent, the historic buildings are interesting, and the trails are shaded and lovely. I truly enjoyed exploring this park, although I was disappointed that the Daybreak Star Cultural-Education Center was closed, Perhaps it will be open next time I visit.
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The Park is welcoming to both kids and dogs, but please remember to keep your dog on a leash. I took a cut to my leg when another hikers unleashed dog jumped on me. Even sweet natured dogs can do damage when excited.
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