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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Kings Park, Perth, Australia

Unlike many city parks, Kings Park at night is not
dangerous or frightening, but strikingly beautiful.
The DNA Tower (a double
helix), Kings Park
If someone asked you where the biggest city park in the world is located, where would you guess? Central Park, New York City? Hyde Park, London? Golden Gate Park, San Francisco? Millennium Park, Chicago? Disney World doesn't count, it's not a city park. If you guessed any of the first four, you'd be wrong. The largest city park in the world is Kings Park, located in the city of Perth, (southwestern) Australia. It's just over 1,000 acres. Central Park, by comparison, is only 843 acres, (Disney World, by the way, is some-thing over 27,000 acres). Just for the rec-ord, Kings Park also has more native plant varieties (324) and more native bird species (80) than any of the others. Situated on the shore of the Perth Harbor on the southwestern edge of the city, last year Kings Park (no apostrophe, mates) hosted some five-million visitors. Trip Advisor (for whom I often write, but have never been paid a cent) has Kings Park as number six on its list of the most outstanding city parks in the world.

Synergy Park is a children's education park all about energy, which you'll need a lot of in keeping up with the kids when visiting the park.
Aside from the dull statistics mentioned above, what makes Kings Park so special? I guess one might say that, like Disney's Orlando extravaganza, King's Park is actually several parks in one. And speaking of amusement type parks, Kings Park is not to be confused with King's Dominion, Kings Island, or the now defunct King's Park Psychiatric Center in Kings Park, New York (north shore of Long Island). If you go to Google for more information, you'll have to sort through all of those like I did.

Besides their very own island playground (above-top) there's also life-size dinosaurs to ride (or try to) and lots of junk food readily available along the park's busy paths.
Kings Park was founded about 1871 and enlarged to it's present size around 1890, officially opening to the public in August of 1895. The park is often thought of as primarily a botanical garden, but it also serves the recreational needs of Perth and the mischievous needs of children with it's two playgrounds and science museum area called Synergy Park. There's also an art museum dedicated to displaying and promoting the work of Aborigine natives from the nearby "outback." If that weren't enough, it's also a grasslands nature preserve. You should notice from the map, Kings Park's winding paths make it also a good place in which to get lost

The State Memorial with it's eternal flame.
Besides all the recreational fun and games (it also has a nice beach), King's Park features a beautiful garden setting commemorating the deaths of Australians during two world wars (above). Being both a war memorial and a botanical garden, it's not surprising that visitors are often most impressed by the glorious eighteen acres of flowers they encounter (below). Beginning in 1965, the Kings Park Festival is now a month-long celebration of floral displays, live music, exhibitions, workshops, interpretive artworks, guided walks and family activities throughout September. Held to promote the beauty of Western Australia's native wildflowers, the event now attracts over 500,000 gardening enthusiasts, families, students, artists, seniors and fashion lovers.

Kings Park is most gorgeous during the Australian springtime
 (October and November).
Among the flowers, towers, and bowers of Kings Park both locals and foreign visitors make use of picnic areas, walking tracks, cycle-ways, acres of natural bush-land and magnificent views of Perth, the Swan River, and Mt. Eliza (below). A notable attraction is the Lotterywest Federation Walkway, which allows visitors to walk across a bridge constructed in the treetops, providing a fresh perspective on the park (bottom). Best of all, admission to the park is free.

With the city of Perth forming a backdrop, children from nine to ninety have
a chance to run, walk, play, or just sit and wish they could do so.
Kings Park's Cottesloe Beach on a slow day.

The Lotterywest Federation Walkway


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