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Arnold Arboretum, a botanical garden, located in Jamaica Plain, is the crown jewel in Frederick Law Olmsted's Emerald Necklace, which is the chain of Boston parks that he created. The manicured grounds, under the management of Harvard University, are filled with exotic flora that are tagged with species and genus names for the eager amateur botanist. The annual 'Lilac Sunday' during the second week of May draws thousands of visitors to enjoy the beauty of over 500 lilac bushes.
Boston Common is one of America's oldest park in the heart of Boston, offering recreation opportunities and a glimpse into history through numerous monuments from the past. Designated as a public space in the 1640s, British soldiers later camped here during the Revolutionary War. Part of the Freedom Trail, the park adjoins the Massachusetts State House and Beacon Hill. A favorite spot is the Frog Pond, which doubles as an ice skating rink. The park is the beginning of the Emerald Necklace, a seven-mile (12-kilometer) string of local parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, a popular landscape architect.
Just across Charles Street from the Boston Common, Public Garden is elegantly landscaped with flower beds, lagoons, walking paths and statues, including a notable monument of George Washington on a horse. Admire the natural beauty and watch as couples pose for their wedding photographs on most summer weekends. The children's story 'Make Way for Ducklings' took place here, and there is a popular sculpture of the ducklings in the northeast corner of the park. A ride on their famous Swan Boats is an essential experience for visitors.
The Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary is a 34.803 hectare (86 acre) stretch of green expanse that offers visitors a chance to experience nature. Complete with nature trails and specialized gardens, the sanctuary ensures an educational and interesting day out. Come here for a picnic with family or explore the wilderness along one of the trails. One can find numerous varieties of fish, birds, muskrats and turtles. The butterfly garden showcases a variety of brilliantly colored insects. Visit the onsite nature center for more detailed information regarding the park. The park is open from dawn to dusk.
Spread out around the picturesque Boston Harbor, this acclaimed national recreation area is made up of 34 independent islands and peninsulas. This pristine area covers roughly 1482 acres (599.7 hectares) and allows visitors to truly absorb Boston's underrated natural beauty. An outdoor enthusiast's dream come true, the park offers an impressive selection of activities from beachside camping and hiking to kayaking, swimming and fishing. The islands are also home to a myriad of heritage sights like the Fort Warren, dating back the times of the Civil War and the oldest lighthouse the country, the 18th-century Boston Light. To access the recreational area, just hop on the harbor ferries that depart from Quincy, Hingham, Downtown Boston and Hull. Park rangers are usually on board the vessels and will be more than happy to assist you with your trip.
Bunker Hill Monument commemorates the Battle of Bunker Hill, where the famous command "don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes" was issued. Local lore makes much of the battle's misnomer; the battle actually took place on Breed's Hill. To keep the guidebooks simple, Breed's Hill was renamed Bunker Hill, and the original Bunker Hill was flattened. Many visitors end their Freedom Trail tour here. Ambitious visitors may climb the 295 steps to the top of the monument, from atop of which one can take in panoramic sights of Boston’s skyline.
A favorite summer and holiday hangout of the locals, the Salem Willows! has something for everyone. You can simply sit in the lovely park and enjoy the beach view or indulge in people-watching. Sport lovers can head to the playground, where a host of sports like football, volleyball, frisbee throwing and other games are played. If all the activity leaves you famished, Willows has different outlets like Peppy's Pizza and E. W. Hobbs that serve excellent local cuisine. Gaming enthusiasts need not feel left out as this park is equipped with an arcade that features games like skee-ball, air hockey, pin-ball, video games and more. During the summer, visitors can enjoy one of their many outdoor summer concerts.
Tucked away on winding roads behind the Museum of Fine Arts, is a beautiful park of manicured lawns, bridges, ponds and flower beds. In the summer, the gated Rose Garden explodes into aromatic pink, white, yellow and red. More varied horticulture can be found in the Victory Gardens, a community garden with hundreds of well-tended plots. Cross a few bridges and you will discover the running track, basketball courts and softball fields. No green space in Boston offers a more peaceful oasis than the Back Bay Fens.
Established in 1885, Franklin Park is one of the city's biggest public parks, and also among the most beautiful in the Emerald Necklace. The park's beautiful layout, with its ponds and gardens is the work of the legendary Frederick Law Olmsted, who considered parks, a vital component of any thriving city. The lush expanse spans 527 acres (213.27 hectares) and comprises the Franklin Park Zoo, William J. Devine Golf Course, numerous sports facilities as well as expansive wooded areas for picnics. Apart from this, the park also has a Playhouse, an open air venue hosting occasional concerts and cultural events. Check website for more.