At this leafy, 735-acre retreat, hiking paths wind through the trees, paddleboats navigate Porter Lake, and hungry ducks float on a small pond. The zoo, where Theodore Geisel—better known as Dr. Seuss—found inspiration for his children's books, is home to nearly 200 animals, from black bears and bobcats to lemurs and wallabies. It's manageable in size, and spotting animals in the exhibits is fairly easy, which makes this an especially good stop for families with small
children. Another plus: you can purchase small bags of food from the gift shop and feed many of the animals. Leave time to explore the park after you finish the zoo.
May 24, 2011
Forest Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed NYC's Central Park -- and in my opinion, he outdid himself here! Forest Park is Olmsted most whimsical park, which reflects the City of Springfield's joie de vivre. I have now visited all of the major Olmsted parks in America, and Forest Park was both mine and my young girl's favorite. She loved the small zoo, the paddleboating on the lake, and the sphinx statues. Personally, I liked
the aquatic park, the Victorian promenades, and the Barney House -- an amazing 19th century house that's now used for banquets. (Barney, I learned, donated most of the 735 acres for Forest Park, which he first acquired by inventing the ice skate!!) I have been extremely pleased with Springfield, Massachusetts -- I was expecting less and received a whole lot more. If you're a serious traveler, you cannot go wrong with a visit to "The City of Firsts" and Olmsted's jewel, Forest Park.