Common Goldeneye, a winter resident and excellent diver. Photo by Dennis Paulson

Magnuson Park is located on 350 acres of the Sand Point Peninsula, a very unique point of land that juts out into  Lake Washington, and was once filled with an old-growth, forested wetland.  After being transformed into farmland, an airstrip, and eventually a Naval Air Station, the US Government deeded the majority of the land to the City of Seattle in the mid 1970s.

Since then, and especially during the past 15 years, the land has undergone another major transformation that has greatly enhanced its natural areas, re-established some of its original topography and plant life, and greatly increased the diversity of wildlife habitats within the park.

This diverse mix of habitats now includes wetlands with seasonal and year-round ponds, along with tall grasslands, several small forests, over a mile of lakeshore, a large community garden, mowed fields, and a “little city” of Navy-era buildings called the Magnuson Historic District.  Each of these habitats, whether considered natural or human-made, is the home for a community of wildlife species.  So no matter where you walk, run, or play in the park, keep your eyes open, and what you see may surprise you!

Words to the wise:

  • Please keep all dogs on a leash unless you are inside the off-leash area, and always stay on the established park trails.  Magnuson’s birds, frogs, and other wildlife populations depend on having safe places to forage for food, nest, and roost. The disturbance to their daily needs when dogs are allowed go off trail or romp unleashed through natural areas can be the difference between life or death for them. Thanks to all dog owners who understand and honor this request!
  • Please do not feed wildlife anywhere in the park, including the ducks and geese.  The plants, insects, and other natural food sources within the park will sustain them in a much healthier way than bread crumbs or other human food.  In addition, wildlife can become aggressive as a result of being taught to associate humans with food.  Thanks very much!


This page will soon be filled with photo galleries of:

Pacific Chorus Frogs (aka Tree Frogs)



Barn Owls and other Raptors

Small Mammals



Other Insects


For more information on the amazing history of the Sand Point Peninsula and Magnuson Park, visit www.seattle.gov/parks/magnuson/history.htm