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Take a walk by the lake, have a picnic, or ride on the vintage 1914 carousel that is housed in one of America's first municipal parks. Since the mid-1850s, Bushnell Park has offered citizens a comfortable place to unwind away from the hustle-and-bustle of downtown Hartford. On the registry of National Historic Landmarks since 1970, the famous Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch dedicated to those in the Civil War is one of the major highlights as well as the Horace Wells Monument and the Corning Fountain.
The Olmstead Brothers' architectural firm created this park which includes 90-acres (36-hectares) of manicured public space, ponds and paths. Founded by Colonel Albert Pope as a place for his employees to go during their off-hours, the park is particularly friendly to bike riders thanks to Colonel Pope's business: the Pope Manufacturing Company - which made bicycles. And although the park has seen its share of ups-and-downs throughout its history, it still functions as what it was aimed to be, a park for all of Hartford.
Mrs. Elizabeth Colt was the wife of famed gunmaker, Samuel Colt. As a local benefactor, she donated 106-acres to the city of Hartford in 1900. Today, that land has been transformed into the beautifully manicured Colt Park, which contains pools, playgrounds, handball and racquetball courts, baseball diamonds as well as Dillon Stadium overlooking the Connecticut River. In the summer, Colt Park is usually packed with sun-starved Nutmeggers trying to enjoy the Great Outdoors before winter comes.
Take a break from your hectic schedule and enjoy a few moments of relaxation at Elizabeth Park Conservancy. Operating since 1897, this beautiful park has been a place of interest for the locals as well as the tourists due to its charming gardens. The property spans over an area of 102-acres (41-hectares) and is home to a heritage rose garden, horticultural garden, shade garden and four other gardens. Besides the lush greenery, it features four century-old Greenhouses verdant pathways, lawns and many more things to do on a sunny day. It also provides facilities for recreational activities like tennis courts, basket ball courts, picnic groves and many others. All in all you are sure to enjoy your time here.