We are ringing in 2017 with 52 reasons why we ♥ Roger Williams Park. One for each week of the new year!
1. The Park was created when Betsey Williams, great, great, great granddaughter of Rhode Island founder Roger Williams, left 102 acres of farm and woodland to the City of Providence.
2. It was built to provide a respite to residents of a rapidly industrializing Providence, factory and mill workers. It was designed before the automobile and many traveled by streetcar to the Park.
3. Here you can bask in the shade of more than 5,000 trees throughout the 435 acre Park.
4. Everyone has a story about Roger Williams Park. What’s yours?
5. A new snow? Break out the sleds and meet us on the hills.
6. Not into winter? The Botanical Center is a balmy haven on cold winter days.
7. How many engagement photos have been taken on the Iron Bridge? Or a special moment with a four-legged friend.
8. Food Truck Fridays are the place to be in the Rhode Island summer.
9. A swan boat ride in Willow Lake is the perfect second date.
10. The Little Free Library provides reading material for a lazy afternoon.
11. Every Rhode Island child needs a picture with the Sentinel, or this lovely creature outside the Museum.
12. Want to spend a few hours in solitude? We’ve got you covered. Want to celebrate with a few hundred of your friends and neighbors? You can do that here, too.
13. Listening to the Rhode Island Philharmonic perform on the lawn of the Temple to Music on a late August evening…what more is there?
14. We share the Park with hundreds of wildlife species. Beautiful birds, sly foxes, turtles and deer, an occasional coyote.
15. Watching Moonrise Kingdom with a few hundred of your fellow Park-lovers on a summer evening.
16. This is sacred ground. Literally; there are elephants buried here.
17. Bring your hammock, take a nap.
18. Roger Williams Park Zoo is widely known as one of the best zoos in the nation.
19. The Museum of Natural History is home to the Cormack Planetarium, the oldest Zeiss ZKP 3 star projector still in operation in the United States.
20. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot Charlie, Goliath, Scotti, Adonis, Arlen, Hooligan, or Remax Cityside at the Providence Mounted Command Stables.
21.The Williams Family Cemetery is the burial ground for many descendants of Roger, including his son Joseph.
22. Launch your kayak for a lazy spin around Star Island.
23. Neighbors brought the holiday cheer to the Bandstand this year, with a little help from The Champlin Foundations, Ten31 Snowman, and Joe’s Backyard Band.
24. The Park is the perfect place to train for your next 5K.
25. Most Sunday mornings, you’ll spot Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza jogging through the Park.
26. We’re restoring the Japanese Garden in 2017, thanks to a generous donor.
27. Children of all ages delight at the Hasbro Boundless Playground.
28. Afternoons spent fishing on one of the nine lakes throughout the Park. (Reminder: Don’t eat the fish!)
29. We’re making progress on the tough water quality challenges; several green infrastructure sites have been completed to date. (Reminder: Don’t feed the geese!)
30. Who among us has attended a high school prom at the Casino?
31. Early evening summer picnics by the majestic Temple to Music.
32. Honest Abe is just one of several monuments that honor our community heritage and history.
33. Sipping on a Del’s Lemonade on a hot July afternoon.
34. Taking a whack at it. Tennis lessons from the pros at the Todd Morsilli Clay Court Tennis Courts.
35. Endless rides at Carousel Village.
36. Monkey Island once existed in Roger Williams Park.
37. And herds of sheep grazed throughout the Park to maintain the luscious green grass.
38. The mysterious Seal House where the legendary Rhonda (actually a sea lion) once lived has been restored. She later escaped from the Park and swam up the Providence River into Narragansett Bay.
39. The Eagle, by local artist Gail Whitsitt-Lynch, created in commemoration of Rhode Island’s bicentennial, has served as a photo-op for many new United States citizens over the years.
40. Getting dirty in the Community Garden.
41. Not getting lost in the Park for the first time. Admit it, it’s satisfying.
42. Leisurely bike rides though the Park. Or for some, more extreme bike action at the new pump track.
43. In 2016, we have raised over $8 million for the Campaign for Roger Williams Park to steward and preserve the Park for future Rhode Islanders to enjoy.
44. Huzzah to the dedicated Parks Department staff that maintain and improve Roger Williams Park day in and day out.
45. Patriotism in the Park.
46. Cultural festivals in the summer that draw thousands to celebrate their heritage.
47. Flying a kite on the Temple to Music lawn.
48. The Dalrymple Boathouse looks remarkably the same as it did over 100 years ago. (Also, horse drawn carriage rides!)
49. The trees in the fall are simply glorious.
50. The Park was designed by Horace Cleveland, master landscape architect and park designer. As Mr. Cleveland intended, it’s the People’s Pleasure Ground.
51. Or, as we like to call it, the People’s Park.
52. The Park is available to all, free of charge, every day of the year, season after season.
Wishing you all the best for a happy, healthy, and
Roger Williams Park filled 2017!