Branch Brook Park in Newark New
Jersey is a place to come and enjoy nature in the
midst of an urban setting. Branch Brook Park is the largest
public park in Newark, and fans of other excellent urban
parks like Central
Park in Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn should not miss this location, since it was also designed
by the famous Olmsted firm. Created in 1895, Branch Brook
Park was built on land that was formerly used as an army
training ground during the Civil War of the 1860s. Branch
Brook Park was the first county park to be opened for
public use in the United States. Originally intended to
be a very naturalistic setting, the park now contains
natural beauty along with widespread use for sporting
events, cultural activities, and festivals.
Each April, the Cherry Blossom Festival attracts about ten thousand visitors to Branch Brook Park in Newark New Jersey. The 2,700 or so cherry trees are a sight to see in April, when their pink blossoms are in full bloom. Also, on Saturdays from July-Oct, the Farmers and Community Market sells excellent items in Branch Brook Park. Also during the summer, there is a full calendar of community events at the park, including outdoor movies, fireworks, live music, and picnics. Those interested in Roman Catholicism and Gothic architecture will appreciate the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart’s Basilica, which overlooks the beautiful park. The Cathedral and the trees of the park combine to form a visually pleasing view of natural and man-made wonders all at once.
Another aspect of this excellent park is the Branch Brook Park Skating Rink. Unlike the rink at Rockefeller Center, the skating found here is on wheels rather than blades. Roller skating, a lost art in many areas of the US, is alive and well at the Branch Brook Park Skating Rink. The website for the skating rink describes the packed list of sessions and special events at the rink, which can also be rented by large groups at certain times during the week. Skating lessons are also offered. When you fly into Newark Airport on one of the airlines to New Jersey, consider using a flight layover to go roller skating with a travel companion at the Branch Brook Park Skating Rink. This fun and offbeat travel idea is sure to create lots of laughter, and a memory that you will not soon forget. Or, if you are staying in Newark, see the nearby Newark Museum, and balance an intellectual morning with some simple fun at the rink.
Another excellent way to use Branch Brook Park is to
stop for a tranquil picnic on the way home from a beach vacation on the Jersey Shore.
Contrast the simple pleasures of this park with the glitzy
casinos of Atlantic
City, or the thrill rides of Six
Flags New Jersey, in order to round out a great vacation.
Looking toward the future, Branch Brook Park in Newark New Jersey is in the midst of a lengthy renovation, attempting to restore the park to reflect the original vision that John Olmsted had for this public space.