Here’s a great adventure for Puyallup area readers, especially if you’d like an outdoor adventure for the kids or a field trip for your school or homeschool group.
The Puyallup Historical Fish Hatchery is a hidden treasure tucked away on a residential street just a few streets away from the fairgrounds.
It’s been part of the community for generations now, but it was almost closed and turned into a private, commercial facility. Luckily, an amazing group of community members came together to make sure that didn’t happen.
The fish in these ponds are trout, and there are thousands of them. Henry was thrilled to get to toss them some food on our visit, and they went wild for it! **Note-This may not be the case on your visit; what tanks are full and how big the fish are depends on where they are in their life cycle and whether they’ve been released elsewhere and so forth….
The educational center is open by appointment and on weekends. If you have a class or homeschool group or other bunch that would like to come visit, just get in touch. Field trips can be tailored around your units of study, and they’re free! The center is super cute, and Henry loved the little film (naturally). **I’ve been told its now open regularly on Saturdays, but I haven’t confirmed this myself, so if you go, let us know!
You can visit the hatchery during open hours anytime. This is mostly a do-it-yourself style outing. Park in front and wander around pools to see trout of different sizes roiling the water. It’s great fun!
You can also walk just behind the hatchery and to your left to find a small bridge. Clark’s Creek runs underneath. You can walk this path (easy but muddy) into Clarks Creek Park (the south section), or during spawning time (usually September) you can stand on the bridge and see if you can spot salmon. Henry and I saw tons of them on this visit. I was actually amazed at the noise of so many splashing around at once. Now, to be clear-they are coming in to spawn, which means they’ve reached the end of their life cycle. Yes, there is a good chance you’ll see stinky, dead fish carcasses. It’s nature-you’ve been warned!
The center also does a salmon homecoming celebration every September with guided tours, crafts, and other fun. Be on the lookout for that!
You can see more information on salmon spotting in my post here. It has a list of spots and events all over the South Sound. This is a seasonal activity-typically between September-November, depending on the river and the fish.
For information on the hike from the hatchery to Clark’s Creek Park South (or vice versa) see our hike report here.