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Parks and Gardens in Toronto

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Bellevue House
As a Father of Confederation and Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald has had a direct impact on how Canada has grown from a small colony into a world leading democratic country. Tour the gardens of historic Bellevue House knowing that seeds were planted there for the birth of a country. Sir John A. Macdonald, and his family made Bellevue House their home from 1848 to 1849. Wander through the family’s preserved kitchen garden to help the costumed gardeners, watch them wielding scythes to cut the lawn in the method of the 1840s and bite into an apple in the heirloom orchard. Be escorted on a journey back in time, following a maid on an Estate Tour to hear tales about the past at Bellevue House and its most famous residents. Explore the juicy deets of Canadian history through an interactive discussion led by an interpreter, while jumping on an Alternative Facts Tour or simply sip a cup of tea relaxing on the grounds and enjoying the view.
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.
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Love Park
Philadelphia’s iconic John F. Kennedy Plaza better known as LOVE Park is currently receiving some much-needed love, care and 21st-century upgrades. The overhaul to the popular public space includes adding green space, structural improvements, installing a new water feature, creating concession areas and opening up access to the park. LOVE Park gets its nickname from Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE statue, which has resided in the space almost continuously since 1976.
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The High Line
When the weather is pleasant, there’s nothing quite like walking the High Line. NYC’s elevated park is certainly one of more popular New York attractions everyone needs to check off their list, and it's the perfect activity to take visitors from out of town. To give you a bit of history, the High Line was once a rail track, which went out of use in 1980. In 2009, the 1.45-mile-long strip was transformed into what is now considered one of the most unique parks in NYC. The urbanite playground features wildflowers, greenery and outdoor art installations in addition to killer views of New York’s skyline. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know as well as our recommendations for things to do on the High Line, including where to grab a bite and go shopping nearby.
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Staten Island Zoo
The Staten Island Zoo might not be the largest or most exotic zoo around (its nickname is the "biggest little zoo"), but it is highly educational and acclaimed for its Serpentarium, housing an extensive collection of rattlesnakes. The zoo also cares for many warm-blooded creatures, with more than 800 species in all.
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Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo of the Wildlife Conservation Society is the premier place to study and appreciate the world's many creatures. Home to more than 6,000 animals, the zoo spans 265 acres that re-create the diverse natural habitats of its numerous residents. Open year-round, it’s a great experience in any season. During the winter, be sure to stop by Tiger Mountain or Himalayan Highlands to see big cats enjoying the chilly outdoors—then head to World of Reptiles or JungleWorld for a warm up with tropical wildlife.
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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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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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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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Civil Rights Garden
The Civil Rights Garden is a tranquil public sculpture garden comprised of 11 granite columns, winding pathways, plants, flowers, Gingko trees and sculptures with inscriptions related to the history, events and people of the Civil Rights movement.
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Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Opened in 1875, the Cincinnati Zoo is the second-oldest zoo in the nation and a National Historic Landmark that is consistently ranked as one of the top zoos in the country.
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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.