Special Reports

New attractions mean more family fun

Following World War II, new traditions and attractions grew at Point Defiance as others faded.

The widespread ownership of automobiles made the point a truly regional attraction, an easy day or afternoon excursion. The long tradition of salmon bakes was reinstituted in 1962 in part to attract visitors to the World’s Fair in Seattle.

The youngsters of the baby boom generation discovered the wonders of the park, including some built just for them. The Funland amusement park underwent an expansion and renovation, while private entrepreneurs opened Never Never Land, bringing childhood storybooks to life in the forest. The zoo opened its Children’s Farm Zoo, where city kids could mingle with goats, ducks and rabbits.

While zoological and undersea exhibits had existed at the park for years, the modern Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium came into shape during this period. A key milestone was moving the waterfront aquarium to a two-story building with a 140,000-gallon tank at the zoo. In 1965, Tacomans welcomed the zoo’s newest addition, Cindy the Elephant.

Adding to the living history theme already seen at Fort Nisqually, the Camp 6 exhibit let visitors experience life in a logging camp.