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Schützenmattpark is a scenic park which is on the to do list of every tourist who visits Basel. This park is no ordinary one and is deeply rooted in history. Way back in the 15th century, shooting with the help of firearms and black powder (Büchsenschiessens) was extremely popular with the locals. This prompted the city council in 1498 to set aside a special place reserved for shooting. The result today is Schützenmattpark!
Basel is not really a city of parks, which is surprising when you consider how green it is. Kannenfeldpark is a popular play area for children. The statues at the entrance on Burgfelderstrasse highlight its use between 1869 and 1871 as a graveyard, and many of the trees also date from this period. Although the traffic flies around the outside of the park, you can enjoy a little fresh air here, and in the summer they have open-air theatre.
One of the local chemical giants, Hoffman-LaRoche has its base in one of the best spots, practically next to the Rhine. In between, however, you'll find Solitude Park. As you wander through the small park, you soon forget its surroundings, especially in the summer, when everything seems so green. The play area is not huge, but there is more than enough to keep the kids entertained. The Tinguely Museum, opened in 1996 and dedicated to the Swiss sculptor, is another of the park's attractions.
The Langen Erlen wildlife park is not in the same category as other zoos. Established in 1871 in Kleinbasel, it was moved to its present location some 30 years later. The earlier site is now the Badische Bahnhof (station). There are animals from all over the world, along with a wide variety of domestic animals, such as pigs, hares, and dwarf goats. You may even see a pheasant or other wildfowl, depending on the weather. It's best to visit with a bicycle or pushchair.
In 1980 Basel hosted a garden show with the not very imaginative title of Green 80. This name stuck in the public's imagination and was also applied to the botanical gardens. The original name comes from a homestead, the remains of which are still visible. The small nearby castle, which served as Christoph Merian's summer residence, is now a cafe. The huge area of the park is ideal for sports, and kids love the enormous dinosaur statue (affectionately known as Dino), who quietly lets everything pass over him.