Branch Brook Park

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.

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