Pier Peer at Point Defiance in Tacoma Washington

Be very aware of your surroundings on the dock as they do get crowded.

The upper boardwalk was well lit and there were two tables set up. The first one had large tubs of water that contained some of the larger animals brought up by the divers. The children and their parents could touch and ask questions about what the sea creatures. The volunteers were friendly and knowledgeable they had all the right answers for my silly questions. There was a nice variety of sea life to look at in the buckets such as starfish, a sea spine and a decorator crab. My daughter thought it was hilarious when one of the large crabs grabbed on to my finger, gave me a good pinch and then hustled away irritably across the bucket.

To register for this event http://www.metroparkstacoma.org/pier-peer

The event we signed up for was at the Point Defiance Marina and began at 7:30 pm so it was cold and dark out. We expected the cold so we were dressed appropriately in wool caps, winter coats and warm gloves so we were pretty comfortable. We were welcome to bring our own life jackets but unfortunately don't own any so we used the big orange ones that were provided.

Life Jackets

Wear water proof gloves to keep your hands warm

Wear a headlamp, your hands will be to busy playing with sea creatures to be holding a flashlight.

Fun on the docks

Table 1

Bring your own life jacket if you own one. It is great that they have these big fat orange life jackets to borrow but you will probably be more comfortable in your own.

Wear shoes with good traction to wear on the dock.

Bring a camera. Even though it is dark you are sure to find something that is photo worthy.

Advice for a great trip to the pier

Be sure to dress warmly and in water resistant type clothing. We wore waterproof pants and ski jackets which worked well for us.

After we checked in and the safety rules were reviewed we went down a steep ramp to the dock below. It was very dark out there but several big spotlights shone into the water so that we could see the sea-life teeming below the surface of the water. I have walked on hertfordshire seo these docks before in the daylight and never seen much down there but dark water. It was amazing to see all of the sea-life below. The kids were given a bucket attached to a long stick with which they are supposed to scoop up sea critters. This is where the one parent per child ratio becomes important. It is really important to watch your child carefully to make sure they don't fall in. The docks do get crowded and it is possible to get bumped off the dock. The kids had a great time "fishing" for sea-life with their buckets. My daughter caught several jellyfish about the size of a dime. We could see the herring busily swimming around just out of reach for our buckets on a stick. There was a tub on deck where the kids could deposit their catch so everyone could see. Several volunteers patrolled the dock to be sure everyone was being safe and to explain exactly what we were looking at in our buckets. A couple of divers were near the docks pulling up some bigger sea-life from down below. These larger animals were brought up to the main boardwalk to that everyone could look at and talk about them. My daughter was fascinated with the divers bobbing up to the surface and talking about what they were seeing and then back down again leaving giant bubbles behind.

The second table held a microscope and several magnifying glasses that the kids could look at the little sea critters with. My daughter loved placing her catch in a water filled petri dish and gaining a close up look at what she caught. We could really see all the little details of the tiny jellies. When we finished looking at them we placed them safely back into the larger water bucket.

Table 2

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