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Explore the Shore

What Will You Discover?

Ever wondered what it’s like to hold a tiny ocean crab in the palm of your hand? Find out at Owen Beach in Tacoma’s beautiful Point Defiance Park!

Join our beach walk naturalists and stroll along the beach at low tide to learn about the animals that live there. Explore the Shore is a fun and exciting opportunity to learn about the biological diversity of our local beaches.


Explore the Details

(and start planning)


Kids on beach for Explore the Shore.

2023 dates:

  • June 17, 10:30am – 12:30pm
  • July 3, 10:15am – 12:15pm
  • July 31, 9:30am – 11:30am
  • August 30, 10:15am – 12:15pm

Who can Explore the Shore?

We recommend this walk for ages 5 and up. For the great adventurers, you may walk up to 1.5 miles round trip from Owen Beach south to the Boat House and back. Due to the nature of this project we cannot accommodate groups above 10 individuals. Please contact us for more information.

Do I need to know anything about beach life?

Nope! These walks are great for all knowledge levels. Trained naturalists will help you identify tide pool animals and record their location to create a baseline of what is found at Owen Beach. Groups will also receive a field guide to common animals found along the shore. If you want to check it out in advance, download the field guide beforehand.

What should I bring?

Come prepared with sunscreen, a hat, and weather-appropriate clothing. Sturdy, closed-toed shoes are recommended for walking on a rocky beach with lots of barnacles.

How do I sign up? How much does it cost?

No RSVP is needed. Meet on the beach near the Owen Beach parking lot in Point Defiance Park and register at the event tent. Please check-in within 15 minutes of the published start time. Explore the Shore is FREE.

When do I check in?

Check in begins 15 minutes before the scheduled start time and ends 15 minutes after. At the meet-up times listed above, participants can get a brief introduction to the day before the walk begins. Beach walks last about one and a half hours, though you may want to explore the beach for a longer time.

How do I become a Beach Walk Naturalist Volunteer?

If you’re interested in becoming a beach naturalist and engaging participants on the topics of beach stewardship and community science, learn more on our volunteer page.

More information

Take the Pledge! Sign the Explore the Shore Pledge to remind yourself to trek the tidepools responsibly.

crab in fingers for explore the shore


Enjoy Exploring Local Beaches?

Tacoma Nature Center offers naturalist-guided beach walks at Titlow Beach at Titlow Park in Tacoma.