After hibernating inside through a long winter season the weather is finally getting warm enough for us to finally head back outdoors without threats of frostbite. Central Connecticut has a great selection of scenic parks in the area for us to enjoy, Wickham Park being one of them. Located in Manchester and a small part of East Hartford, this beautiful park covers over 250 acres of land and includes numerous attractions providing a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
The parking fee to enter the park is $4 during the week and $5 on weekends. Upon entering they hand you a map which proves to be very helpful in navigating through this huge park. There are a variety of themed gardens, woodlands, open fields, ponds, and picnic areas. The themed gardens feature an Italian Shrine, Oriental Garden, Wetlands Garden, English Garden and more. Our favorite was the Sensory Garden which is a garden divided up into six areas one for each of the five senses as well as a “sixth sense” of imagination. The stunning pathways, arbors, chimes, water feature, miniature train track, plantings and other features that are in each area will delight all senses. Not only is the garden breathtaking but it is very educational. There are several stations with audio that describe each garden and point out the planned features.
Conveniently located right next to the Sensory Garden is also one of three fun playgrounds that even have a teeter totter and roundabout…old school playground equipment that the more modern parks no longer feature! If you work up an appetite after playing and forgot to pack a picnic basket for lunch, walk across the playground to the concession stand that’s open on the weekends for a snack or drink.
Another must-see part of the park is the Aviary that‘s home to a variety of display birds that include turkeys, peacocks, owls, pheasants, waterfowl, and exotic chickens. Wickham Park also shelters turkey vultures, Red-Tailed hawks, Canada geese, and a Great Horned owl, all migratory birds that are unable to be released to the wild due to injury. All of the birds are kept in the park's aviary where the public can view and learn about them. Your child can even feed the birds with food available for purchase in vending machines located within the aviary.
But the many wonderful attractions don’t stop there, the park also has a nature center, an 18-hole Frisbee disc golf course, five tennis courts, two softball diamonds, two volleyball courts and horse shoe pits. For the exercise enthusiast the park also provides scenic bike trails, hiking excursions and a fitness trail complete with 20 stations that provide a challenging workout.
Donated in trust by the Wickham family, the park has been lovingly maintained and expanded throughout the years. The Wickham’s would be proud to know that what they left for public enjoyment has truly indeed become a gem. The park is a testimony to their legacy and will be enjoyed by all for many years to follow.
1329 West Middle Turnpike