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Parks and Gardens 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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Scioto Greenway
Located in the heart of downtown Columbus, the Scioto Mile is an urban oasis comprised of more than 175 acres of lush parkland. Stretching along the riverfront from the vibrant Arena District to the natural beauty of the Whittier Peninsula, the Scioto Mile reconnects downtown to the Scioto River through an integrated system of parks, boulevards, bikeways and pedestrian paths.
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The Akron Zoo
The Akron Zoo offers 35 acres of exhibits & guest amenities. Create lasting memories and ride the train or carousel, and view 8 animal exhibits. How did the jaguar get its spots? How does the Andean condor carry the sun into the sky? Learn the answers to the legends of these animals and more in Legends of the Wild. Travel through South America with the jaguar and capybara, Madagascar with the lemurs and the Himalayan Mountains with the snow leopards and Himalayan tahr. Come on down to the farm! You can pet, feed and get nose-to-nose with domestic farm animals like Boer goats, Oberhasli goats, Nubian goats, and pygmy goats. Make sure to see our sheep, pig and barn owl too. Buy food for these animals at our granary and then hop aboard a solar powered train, the A&K Wilber Express (April-October). If you are not too tired get lost in Ohio Farmland maze. Navigate the seven seas on the pirate playground, have a picnic in the Wild Prairie Pavilion and enjoy a snack from our Grasslands Café. Make sure you stop by the butterfly waystation and learn about the amazing migration of butterflies.
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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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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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Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Explore the beauty and wonders of nature at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, encompassing 15 acres including a 14-room glasshouse and 23 distinct gardens. Experience industry-leading sustainable architecture and green practices, stunning seasonal flower shows, exclusive commissioned exhibits, renowned orchid and bonsai collections and more.
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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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Indianapolis Zoo
Located along the scenic riverbanks in White River State Park, the Indianapolis Zoo is conveniently located near beautiful downtown Indianapolis with easy access to walking and biking trails into the city. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Alliance of Museums. Run with cheetahs on the African plains, or swim with dolphins in deep blue oceans. Wherever your adventure may take you, the Indianapolis Zoo will be your guide!
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Detroit Zoo
An animal lover's paradise, the Detroit Zoo is situated on 125 acres with many naturalistic habitats. Major exhibits include the Arctic Ring of Life, Australian Outback Adventure, Great Apes of Harambee, National Amphibian Conservation Center, Holden Reptile Conservation Center, Penguinarium and Butterfly Garden. The Detroit Zoo is home to animals from A to Z, including anteaters and zebras and hundreds of other species in between. More than 2,000 animals representing 230 species of amphibians, mammals, birds and reptiles live in the Zoo’s 125-acres of true-to-life habitats that bring visitors face-to-face with these exotic creatures.
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Holiday World & Splashin' Safari
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari are a family theme park/water park combo located in Santa Claus, Indiana. The theme park celebrates Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the 4th of July with top-ranked roller coasters, rides, live entertainment, games and attractions. The popular website TripAdvisor.com named Splashin’ Safari the #1 water park in the nation, home to the world’s two longest water coasters, numerous family raft slides, two wave pools, water slides and water activities for children. Holiday World offers guests free unlimited soft drinks, free parking, free inner tube usage, free sunscreen and free Wi-Fi. Together, Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari were named the nation’s Top Value Park in a recent issue of Consumers Digest.
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Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Experience masterpieces of art and nature that will delight your senses at one of the nation's premier horticultural display gardens and sculpture parks in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Ranked in the top 100 most-visited art museums worldwide by Art Newspaper, the leading publication in global art news, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park has grown to become an international destination. The sculpture program features more than 200 works in the permanent collection sited both indoors and outdoors on the 158-acre main campus. The permanent collection focuses on works by established and emerging sculptors from the Modern tradition to the present. Earliest works date to the second half of the 19th century with masters such as Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belluese, Edgar Degas, and Auguste Rodin. Starting with these masters, the comprehensive presentation includes sculptors from the late 19th century to the present.
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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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Fieldcote Memorial Park & Museum
Fieldcote is a cultural heritage centre with an emphasis on the collection, preservation and exhibition of local history, the promotion of fine arts and the celebration of natural heritage through beautiful landscaped gardens and walking trails. Explore ‘Stories From the Edge’, an exhibition celebrating the history of Ancaster. Set on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, with a bounty of water and resources, Ancaster has attracted humans since the retreat of the last glacier over 10,000 years ago. Using 31 stories and artifacts, one for every year the museum has been open, this exhibition offers snapshots of Ancaster’s history from the earliest human occupants to present day.
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Millennium Park
With 25 acres of awe-inspiring landscape, breathtaking architecture and an iconic collection of public art, Millennium Park is Chicago’s premier green space. Millennium Park celebrated its 10th anniversary season in 2014 and continues to present dozens of free events and programs including art installations, outdoor concerts, films screenings, alfresco workouts and more.
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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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Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
Frederick Law Olmsted’s design for Buffalo’s South Park included a conservatory and surrounding formal gardens. In 1894, Professor John F. Cowell was appointed as the first Director of the conservatory. He gathered plants, trees and flowers from every corner of the world and his expertise and guidance allowed for many successful years for the conservatory. While South Park was being constructed, Lord & Burnham Co. was busy designing the South Park Conservatory. The tri-domed Victorian design was modelled after the beautiful Crystal Palace in England and was built by a Buffalo construction company, George P. Wurtz & Son, of wood, glass, iron and steel for a total cost of $130,000. Upon opening in 1900, the conservatory was the third-largest public greenhouse in the United States and was ranked as the ninth-largest in the world. The South Park Conservatory continued to grow throughout the early 1900s and six greenhouses were added in 1907. Over the years, extensive renovations and upgrades have been made, including restoration of many of the gardens, replacement of the outdated heating system, renovation of the main palm dome and greenhouses and more. Today, the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens attracts more than 100,000 annually to enjoy the amazing architecture and the indoor and outdoor garden sanctuary. It is a gathering place where visitors can find peace and harmony and enjoy the simple power of the natural world.
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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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Greensboro Science Center
Experience the wonders of an aquarium, zoo, science museum, and 3D theatre all in one attraction! See sharks, penguins, otters, stingrays, a fishing cat and other amazing animals from around the world in NEW The Wiseman Aquarium. Get eye-to-eye with tigers, meerkats, monkeys, crocodiles and other unique animals in Animal Discovery Zoo. Roam through Dinosaur Gallery, take a journey through the human body, experience extreme weather, and have fun in Kid’s Alley in the Museum. Watch amazing 3-D shows that pop out of the screen in the OmniSphere Theatre.
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Theodore Roosevelt Island
Reachable by footbridge off the George Washington Memorial Parkway, Theodore Roosevelt Island pays homage to the great conservationist. You will find nearly two miles of trails that traverse through forest and wetland, as well as a 17-foot statue dedicated to the historic figure. Via the trails, you can encounter beautiful views of the Potomac River.
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Adventureworks
From moonlight zip tours to aerial courses to couples adventures, Adventureworks offers a range of treetop fun. Adventureworks has two Nashville-area locations, including Nashville West (Kingston Springs) and The Fontanel. Both locations have canopy zip tours year-round. The Nashville West location also features an aerial adventure course, specialty monthly tours, and team-building courses. If you’re looking for high-flying activity, consider these upcoming experiences at Adventureworks.
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Toronto Zoo
With a huge range of creatures from around the globe, the Toronto Zoo is divided into seven zoogeographic regions: Indo-Malaya, Africa, the Americas, Australasia, Eurasia, Canadian Domain and the Tundra Trek. Animals can be seen indoors in tropical pavilions and outdoors in naturalistic environments. The Toronto Zoo also participates in many conservation initiatives including captive breeding and reintroduction, habitat and species research and much more. Set in the beautiful Rouge Valley in the east end of the city, the Zoo is open 364 days a year and is accessible by car and public transit.
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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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Urban ecology Center - Riverside Park
Our Riverside Park branch is located at Milwaukee County's Riverside Park between the Riverwest and East Side communities, one of the most populated and diverse areas in Milwaukee.
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Carolina Raptor Center
Carolina Raptor Center is a 57-acre living museum and avian medical facility displaying over 25 species of raptors in a zoo-like setting. Located in Latta Plantation Nature Preserve, our 3/4 mile Raptor Trail features eagles, owls, falcons, hawks, vultures and other raptor species.
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Maryland Zoo
A 135-plus acre zoo nestled in Druid Hill Park, the Maryland Zoo is the third oldest zoo in the country. Maryland Zoo is Baltimore's wildest attraction! The zoo is home to 1,500 exotic mammals, encompasses birds, amphibians and reptiles representing nearly 200 species.
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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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Parkwood National Historic Site
Step back in time and experience the home of the late R.S. McLaughlin, Canadian auto baron and founder of General Motors of Canada. Inspired by early 20th century Beaux-Arts design, this 15,000 square foot, 55-room mansion was built between 1915 and 1917. The art, architecture, gardens, landscaping and original furnishings are all faithfully preserved in this National Historic Site. Immerse yourself in the beauty and history of this National Historic Site through daily site experiences, a variety of special learning opportunities, and events that will engage your senses. From Mansion & Garden experiences to afternoon teas, there’s always something unique to experience at Parkwood.
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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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Missouri Botanical Garden
A National Historic Landmark founded in 1859 with 79 acres of scenic landscaping and historic structures. Don't miss the Climatron® tropical rain forest, the Japanese Garden and founder Henry Shaw's Victorian home. Seasonal narrated tram tours, restaurant, gift shop
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Fairmount Park
Fairmount Park boasts many architectural treasures, seven of which are maintained as historic house museums open to the public. Located on the banks of the Schuylkill River, these homes originally served as the rural summer villas for well-to-do families during the eighteenth- and early-nineteenth century.