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Nature Views in Columbus

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Franklin Park Conservatory
The Conservatory’s extensive gardens and art collections pulse with life and bring the truly exotic wonders of nature right to you. Explore over 400 species of plants from around the world in the Conservatory’s biomes, take in the beauty of James Turrell’s Light Raiment II, or simply marvel at the intricate glasswork of Dale Chihuly. Experience the planet’s natural diversity in the Conservatory’s biomes. From the arid deserts of the American Southwest to the hot and humid Amazon Rainforest, the biomes allow you to explore these ecosystems right in the heart of central Ohio. Or simply stroll abundant outdoor gardens full of seasonal color and interest, set within the 88-acres of Franklin Park!
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Highbanks Metro Park
Highbanks is named for its massive 100-foot-high shale bluff towering over the Olentangy State Scenic River. Tributary streams cutting across the bluff have created a number of deep ravines in the eastern part of the 1,200-acre park. Ohio and Olentangy shales, often containing outstanding large concretions, are exposed on the bluff face and sides of the ravines.
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Cherokee Park
Cherokee Park Family Campground invites you to spend your next camping vacation on our quiet, scenic grounds in Portage County, near Akron in Northeast Ohio. The Park campground features gorgeous surroundings, quality facilities, excellent campsite amenities and friendly service. Set on 50 acres, just a short drive east of Akron, Ohio, Cherokee Park offers a peaceful setting with wooded and open space surrounding two small tree-lined lakes and an activities area. Enjoy the beauty of nature and the calming effect of a campfire. You might even spot an occasional deer during your stay. Cherokee Park offers 120 campsites with 30 amp electric and water hookups. Choose a sunny, open RV site or one that is shaded by trees. Pull-thru sites are available for today's larger RVs. Pets are welcome so long as they are leashed and attended. Cherokee Park offers a few family tent sites during the summer for a limited stay.
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Duqesne Incline
Enjoy a spectacular panorama of Pittsburgh and its three rivers. Ride to the incline's Observation Deck in the 140-year-old Incline car to see what USA Today Weekend Magazine calls one of the "10 most beautiful views in America".
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Sahm Park
The central focal point in the park is the remodeled aquatic center. It boasts a 400,000-gallon pool with a zero depth area, numerous spray features, 3 slides and lap lanes. The park is also adjacent to Sahm Golf Course. Amenities: playground, pavilion, shelters, picnic knoll, tennis, basketball, sand volleyball, soccer, fitness trail, disc golf course.
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Belle Isle State Park
Accessible by a bridge at the foot of East Grand Boulevard, this 982-acre island park features a zoo, aquarium, conservatory, Great Lakes museum and plenty of room to hike, barbecue, watch boats, bicycle and more. Original landscaping by the Dean of American landscape architects, Frederick Law Olmstead.
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Military Park
Toss a Frisbee, walk your dog, or simply settle into the grass in this 14-acre green space bordering the IUPUI campus. Although it was a Civil War encampment and home to the first state fair, the park drew its name from its shape-like a military badge.
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Grand Haven State Park
48-acre park with the beautiful sandy shore of Lake Michigan along the west side of the park and the Grand River along the north side of the park. The park consists entirely of beach sand and provides scenic views of Lake Michigan and the Grand Haven pier and lighthouse. A popular destination located on Lake Michigan’s sandy shores. Activities include camping, fishing, sunbathing, volleyball and swimming, Modern lodge is available for rent.
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Hamilton Royal Botanical Gardens
Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, Ontario is the largest botanical garden in Canada and one of the largest in the world. It is a National Historic Site, and registered charitable organization with a mandate to bring together people, plants and nature. Royal Botanical Gardens is a member of the American Public Gardens Association and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. Within its 60 documented collections approximately 40,000 plants are displayed in five major garden exhibition areas; the Arboretum, Hendrie Park, Laking Garden, RBG Centre and the Rock Garden.
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Delaware Park Rose Garden
The Rose Garden is one of the main focal points of Delaware Park, featuring varieties from the All-America Rose Selections. There are 33 beds, allowing for several combinations and arrangements of spectacular rose bushes in bright purples, pinks, reds, yellows and whites. At the eastern end of the garden is a prominent pergola, dating to 1912. The Rose Garden sits beside the historic Marcy Casino, site of the Terrace Restaurant, and is maintained by the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.
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Japanese Garden of Buffalo
In December 1962 the city of Buffalo joined the United States Sister City International initiative by connecting with Kanazawa, Japan and a wonderful history of sharing resources has grown. In 1996, Kanazawa was largely responsible for the major renovations to the Japanese Garden of Buffalo providing trees, shrubs, paths and the unique stone lanterns. Located behind The Buffalo History Museum in the Olmsted Conservancy’s Delaware Park, the lush gardens and serene lake provide a contemplative refuge for all of Buffalo to enjoy.
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Niagara Falls State Park
Niagara Reservation State Park, which surrounds mighty Niagara Falls, is the oldest state park in the United States. The park is made up of numerous islands, as well as the famous Prospect Point area. The magnificent Great Lakes Garden greets visitors entering the park. The visitor centre offers information and exhibits about the park’s history, geology and technology. The Niagara Scenic Trolley provides three-mile guided tours, stopping at the park’s most scenic vistas and at such facilities as the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, which tells the story of the creation of the falls with exhibits and a multiscreen theatre presentation. The Observation Tower has elevators that take visitors 180 feet down to the base of the tower for a close-up view of the American Falls. While in the park ride the world-famous Maid of the Mist Boat and get wet while at the Cave of the Winds attraction. Visitors can also hike, bike and fish. Open year-round.
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Rock Creek Park
DC’s ultimate outdoor mecca is Rock Creek Park, a 4.4-square-mile expanse that includes numerous trails for hiking, biking and exploring. There’s more to like about the park, too, like a nature center, picnic areas, riding stables, tennis courts and Peirce Mill, an historical site.
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Lake Park
Approximately 140 acres, Lake Park is one of several parks in the Milwaukee County park system that was designed by renowned landscape architect, and Central Park designer, Fredrick Law Olmstead.
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Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens
The vision for the Oshawa Valley Botanical Garden (O.V.B.G.) is to develop a unique botanical garden attraction in Oshawa. This is to be done by incorporating the nationally designated gardens of Parkwood, The R. S. McLaughlin Estate, with a series of modern feature gardens linked by the parklands and the natural terrain of the Oshawa Valley Creek trail system. The first garden opened was the Peony Garden. It was started in the fall of 2001 with 100 peonies donated by the Canadian Peony Society. Further donations from peony breeders and suppliers across North America have led to the entire collection, more than 300 varieties, becoming one of the largest modern collections of peonies in North America. The one of a kind collection of locally hybridized daylilies addition to the already beautiful gardens was made possible by the generous donation from Henry Lorrain and the late Douglas Lycett, founders of We’re in the Hayfield Now. The 265 daylily collection was established in 2017 and can be found on the east side of the Oshawa Creek directly across from the Peony Garden with access to the Kolodzie Oshawa Creek Bike Path.
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McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve
McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve is named after the automakers' founder, Col. Sam McLaughlin, the Reserve has become a popular attraction for lovers of nature and peaceful surroundings. The Reserve occupies in excess of 41 ha (108 acres) of land owned and operated by General Motors of Canada Limited. An additional 40 ha of the same tract has been set aside for the office complex, parking and services, along with adequate buffer zones. Home to almost 400 different varieties of plants, trees, shrubs and wildflowers, as well as a great number of native birds, mammals and fish, the McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve features a number of walking trails, viewing platforms for photographers and birdwatchers as well as the Dogwood Trail, for use by partially-sighted or visually-impaired visitors. It is open to the public seven days a week, year-round, free of charge, and is wheel-chair accessible. A series of 11 trails in network of McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve - connected to Second Marsh Wildlife Area and Darlington Provincial Park - part of provincial waterfront system.
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Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, a Garden for all seasons, provides guests a chance to reconnect with nature. The breathtaking Visitor Pavilion welcomes visitors to 110 acres of spectacular gardens including a children’s garden, a conservatory dedicated to the display of tropical plants and orchids, a Dry Piedmont Prairie, annual and perennial displays, sparkling fountains, walking trails and more. In 1991, Daniel J. Stowe, a retired textile executive from Belmont, North Carolina, reserved 380 acres of prime rolling meadows, woodlands, and lakefront property and established a foundation on which to develop a world-class botanical garden. A lifelong nature lover and gardening enthusiast, Stowe and his wife, Alene, envisioned a complex evolving over several decades to rival other internationally-renowned gardens. Standing sentinel over the Garden is the stunning 13,500 square-foot Visitor Pavilion with its breathtaking 100-year-old stained-glass dome. The pavilion opened in 1999 along with eight garden rooms and 12 exceptional fountains. In 2008, The Orchid Conservatory opened later followed by the opening of Lost Hollow: The Kimbrell Children’s Garden in 2014. In 2019, the Garden is opening the Piedmont Prairie Garden in celebration of the 20th anniversary.
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Atlanta Botanical Garden
Renowned plant collections, beautiful displays, and spectacular exhibitions make the Atlanta Botanical Garden the loveliest place in town to visit or host an event in every season. An urban oasis in Midtown, the Garden includes 30 acres of outdoor gardens, an award-winning Children's Garden, a one-of-a-kind Canopy Walk through Storza Woods, and the innovative Edible Garden featuring an Outdoor Demonstration Kitchen. The Fuqua Conservatory is an organic biosphere and home to important collections of tropical palms and conifers; the Fuqua Orchid Center is home to the foremost collection of species orchids in the United States. Conservation gardens and amphibian displays highlight the Garden's work with carnivorous plant bogs across the Southeast as well as endangered species of frogs from around the world. The Garden offers lovely indoor and outdoor rental options for elegant meetings and celebrations.
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Lake Laurentian Conservation Area
The Lake Laurentian Conservation Area is a scenic natural area located only ten minutes from downtown Sudbury. Easily accessible by car, the area offers 2,415 acres (950 hectares) of protected green space. Imagine the remote tranquility of a wilderness setting, a man-made lake and pond, scenic lookouts, a self-guided nature trail, numerous wetland areas, hiking trails, bird watching areas, and snowshoeing and cross-country ski trails in winter. The Lake Laurentian Conservation Area offers the photographer, nature watcher, and recreationist boundless opportunity to experience the wilds. At Lake Laurentian children can: touch a frog, eat juicy blueberries, feed the birds, learn to survive if lost in the woods, see animal displays or plant a tree. The Lake Laurentian Conservation Area has something for everyone. Providing environmental education for over 40 years, is only one of the many benefits this facility provides.
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Brooklyn Botanic Garden
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is as committed to education and conservation as it is to inspiration. Whether you’re looking to learn something or just want to soak up 52 acres of natural beauty, the BBG has more than 18,000 kinds of plants from all over the world. The garden is open year-round and has plants for every season, plus indoor tropical gardens and bonsai trees.
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Montreal Botanical Garden
The Jardin botanique de Montréal, one of the city’s jewels, is recognized as one of the world’s greatest botanical gardens. It offers a colourful program of events, exhibitions and activities all year long. With its collection of 22,000 plant species and cultivars, 10 exhibition greenhouses, Frédéric Back Tree Pavilion, and more than 20 thematic gardens spread out over 75 hectares, it’s also a perfect place to enjoy fresh air and natural beauty. Located just minutes from downtown Montréal, right near the Biodôme and Olympic Park, the Jardin botanique de Montréal is a veritable living museum of plants from the four corners of the globe.
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Roger Williams Park
Since the 1890’s, Roger Williams Park has been the premier playground for both Providence and Rhode Island residents. Designed in 1874 by landscape architect Horace W.S. Cleveland, the entire park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The park’s 435 acres feature over 100 acres of ponds that weave their way through the rolling landscape. Major attractions include the nationally-recognized Roger Williams Park Zoo, the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, the Botanical Center, the Casino, the Carousel Village, the Temple to Music, the Todd Morsilli tennis courts, and the Tim O’Neil baseball fields.
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Loring Park
Surrounding the Convention Center on the southern edge of downtown Minneapolis, the Loring Park District is a walkable residential neighborhood of historic institutions and cultural attractions.
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Bivens Arm Nature Park
Bivens Arm Nature Park is 57 acres of marsh and oak hammock with a wildlife sanctuary, shaded family picnic grounds, an observation pavilion and a mile-long nature trail with a 1,200 foot boardwalk. The wetlands and creeks bordered by beautiful upland mixed forests is a true natural treasure. The Park connects the southernmost Gainesville creeks to the wetlands of Paynes Prairie State Preserve. The park’s trail meanders through uplands past numerous large live oaks, while the boardwalk and main pavilion border a small marsh. Birders especially enjoy the Bivens Arm Nature Park, where wading birds, including great blue herons, little blue herons, cattle egrets, great egrets and snowy egrets can be seen. You will also see purple gallinules, common moorhens, and a variety of native turtles. You may hear barred owls or great horned owls, and in April and October you may see migratory songbirds such as hermit thrushes and American redstarts.
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Parc de la Chute-Montmorency
Open year-round, beautiful Montmorency Falls Park is just a few minutes from downtown Québec City. The waterfalls are 83 m (272') tall, a full 30 m (99') higher than Niagara Falls. Take the cable car up the cliff to start the panoramic walking tour at the Manor, where are housed an interpretation centre, gift shop and restaurant. Follow the footpath along the top of the cliff to the suspended bridge, which affords a splendid view of the area. Keep walking along the path until you get to the 487-step staircase down the side of the cliff that will bring you to the foot of the falls. There are also three via ferrata routes near the falls, along with a 300-m (984.3’) double zip line.
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Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center
A 103-acre facility dedicated to conservation, education, recreation and tourism. It houses an award-winning, 9500-square-foot building filled with live animal exhibits; photographic presentations of the site's flora and fauna; natural artefact and mineral displays; and a sizeable, vintage waterfowl decoy carving collection. Ecology and art exhibits are featured periodically. Over a mile of gravel paths and boardwalks link varied habitats such as the cypress-tupelo swamp, beech-magnolia and hardwood forests. Wildlife is plentiful at Bluebonnet Swamp, including hundreds of bird species utilizing the site throughout the year. Birders can view seasonal species during peak migrations, as well as year-round residents. While snakes and turtles are commonly seen from the trails, raccoons, rabbits, opossums, armadillos, squirrels, foxes, coyotes, deer and otter are also known to inhabit the site. Nature programs and environmental education are conducted throughout the year including educational group tours, live animal encounters, holiday and summer day camps, toddler activities, birding walks, field trips and special events.
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Honeymoon Island State Park
A short drive from Tampa, beautiful Honeymoon Island offers visitors an escape from the bustle of city life. One of Florida’s best-loved state parks, Honeymoon Island has more than four miles of beach to explore along with a three-mile trail through one of the last remaining virgin slash pine forests. Looking skyward, eagles, osprey and great horned owls can be seen, while ground animals include gopher tortoises, raccoons and armadillos. A trip to the Rotary Centennial Nature Center helps educate visitors about the park’s history and natural resources. Find out how Honeymoon Island received its name! Swimming, fishing, shelling, hiking and bicycling are all popular activities that make Honeymoon Island State Park an ideal getaway. The park is also the ferry terminal for access to another unspoiled state park, Caladesi Island.
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Garden of the Groves
Garden of the Groves is Grand Bahama’s premier nature experience! Explore winding trails through lush vegetation, cascading waterfalls and sparkling fountains. Visit the picturesque chapel, which has been consecrated and is a favourite place for weddings, prayer and meditation. Explore the Garden Shops, discover the sacred beauty of the Labyrinth, enjoy lunch or dinner at the Garden Café and Bar, or children can play at the newly expanded playground. At Garden of the Groves indigenous and migratory birds and butterflies sip nectar or take insects from the many flowers and shrubs that were newly planted to provide nectar, insects and berries for wildlife.
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Fortwhyte Alive
Six hundred-forty acres of pristine prairie beauty are waiting to welcome you to this natural oasis, which is located right inside the city. In the summer feel the wind in your hair canoeing or sailing on one of FortWhyte’s several lakes; in the fall sip a locally brewed beer on their restaurant patio while witnessing North America’s largest animal (the bison) roam in its natural habitat as migrating birds fill the sky; in winter go cross country skiing on their many trails or take the kids out for a ridiculously fun day of sliding on the Richardson Rrrun Toboggan slide. No matter what the season, there is always an adventure to be had at FortWhyte Alive.
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Discovery Green
Discovery Green is a beautiful, vibrant 12-acre park in the heart of downtown Houston that opened to the public in April 2008. The park was envisioned by several committed Houston philanthropists, who saw the space as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create an urban park that would redefine the landscape of downtown. In less than four years, the site that became Discovery Green was transformed from an undeveloped, concrete eyesore into a beautiful and vibrant destination adjacent to the George R. Brown Convention Center.
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Hermann Park
Hermann Park has a bountiful assortment of entertainment: a golf course, an outdoor theater, a jogging track, a beautiful rose garden, picnic spaces, a butterfly exhibit, and even a museum. Hermann Park, presented to the City of Houston by George Hermann in 1914, is Houston's most historically significant public green space. Over the years, the Houston Zoo, Miller Outdoor Theatre, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Japanese Garden, Rose Garden and Hermann Park Golf Course, one of the first desegregated public golf courses in the United States, all have added to the Park's importance as a recreational destination. Hermann Park, located minutes from downtown Houston, is a cultural and recreational hub surrounded by the Texas Medical Center, Rice University, the Museum District, and various residential neighborhoods. The entrance to the park is at the intersection of Main St. and Montrose Blvd. Upon arriving at Hermann Park the visitor is greeted by a statue of one of Houston's founders, General Sam Houston. He points in, towards the park, leading the park visitor in the direction of it's many amenities.
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Virginia Key Beach
Virginia Key Beach - North is located at 3701 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne. A big wooden sign marks this historic beach, which is located just past the Rickenbacker Causeway across from Miami Seaquarium. Virginia Key Beach - North was the location of the famed,but now closed Jimbo's, a former movie-set-turned-hangout for some of Miami's eccentric local characters. Windsurfing and ultra light seaplane rental are available here. Enjoy great views of Brickell Avenue and downtown Miami skyline.
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Crandon Park Beach
Crandon Beach is one of Miami's greatest park treasures. A beautiful, sprawling campus of beaches and amenities, Crandon Park is more than a beach. At Crandon Park Beach on Key Biscayne, there's a Family Amusement Center, a Nature Center and even a place to rent cabanas. The beach remains the main attraction at the luscious and family-friendly Crandon Park. Gear up for a friendly game of beach volleyball or unpack your picnic and bring some supplies for the on-site grills. There's almost always a birthday party or event taking place somewhere at this site. At the south end of Crandon Park Beach, there are cabanas for rent. Cabanas have showers and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Cabana renters are assigned a parking space and exclusive picnic tables on the beach. It's fun to explore the various ecosystems at Crandon Park, including dunes, mangroves, coastal hammock and sea grass beds. The Crandon Park Nature Center is home to exotic plants, rare fish and wildlife, and Bear Cut Preserve, a natural Environment Study Area. Take a tour with a naturalist and explore all that this nature hotbed has to offer.
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Halifax Public Gardens
As one of the finest surviving examples of a Victorian Garden in North America, the Halifax Public Gardens is located in the heart of Halifax. Located on 17-acres and enclosed by a wrought-iron fence with a magnificent set of ornamental gates, take a leisurely stroll through the gardens to view many floral displays that include exotic and semi-tropical ornamental species, trees, shrubs, statues, and fountains. In 1874, the city of Halifax assumed responsibility for the original garden (N.S. Horticultural Society, 1836) and a civic garden (1867); the gardens were brought together by the present design in 1875. Richard Power, the Garden’s superintendent from 1872–1915, oversaw the introduction of the bandstand, fountains, statues, and wrought iron gates – all features of the High Victorian Pleasure Garden. Each piece honoured a milestone in Queen Victoria’s reign, a contemporary military event, or an important local personage. Recognized as a National Historic Site in 1984, the Halifax Public Gardens are a much loved and popular destination for locals and visitors alike. From mid-June to mid-September, the bandstand features afternoon band concerts.
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McNabs Island
McNabs Island is the largest island at the entrance of Halifax Harbour in Nova Scotia. Part of the McNabs and Lawlor Islands Provincial Park, McNabs Island is only a short boat ride from Halifax or Eastern Passage, but feels like a world away with its colorful past and unspoiled natural beauty. Situated on the eastern side of the entrance to Halifax Harbour, McNabs Island has provided a scenic and historic backdrop to the lives of metro residents for over two centuries. Its strategic location was utilized by the military to guard the harbour, her fertile soils provided an important source of food for early settlers, and the beaches, woodlands, open fields and scenery have attracted local residents for leisure-time pursuits since the 1700's. McNabs Island is accessible by private boat, or commercial water taxi and charter boat operators from Halifax, Dartmouth and Eastern Passage. Depending on pick-up and drop-off locations, the trip takes about 20-30 minutes from downtown Halifax or Dartmouth, and 10 minutes from Eastern Passage.