Springfield is home to nearly 100 public parks with playgrounds, trails, ballfields and gardens, and there are plenty of reasons to check them out. Here are nine of those reasons you should visit a park today.

1. The rose garden at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park features more than 150 rose bushes blooming in every color imaginable. They smell wonderful and you’ll enjoy flowers from early spring to late fall. Nearly two dozen other themed gardens are found throughout the park.

 

The rose garden at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park in Springfield, Missouri.

2. You can experience a bit of Japan at the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden. Along with Japanese-style landscaping, the city’s largest public garden has a lake filled with colorful koi that bob to the surface begging for food. The teahouse, moon bridge, moon deck and pagoda offer quiet places for repose, and winding trails offer peaceful walks among the greenery and flowers.

3. At Phelps Grove Park, the Xeriscape Demonstration Garden demonstrates the efficient use of water in landscaping while providing an interesting and attractive area for strolling and relaxing in an urban setting. It’s a great way to learn about conservation. 4. Have you pet a caterpillar today? The Dr. Bill Roston Native Butterfly House at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park is a free attraction that gives patrons up-close encounters with butterflies that are native to the Ozarks.

 

A girl holds a butterfly at the Dr. Bill Roston Native Butterfly House in Springfield, Missouri.

5. Children are full of energy and a great way to burn it off is a romp on playground equipment. Most city parks have equipment the kids will love, including the Dan Kinney Park that has a universal playground and ballfield for kids of all abilities.

6. Explore a farm at the Rutledge-Wilson Farm Community Park. It’s the real deal complete with animals, a milking barn, crops and gardens, a pond and a farm-themed playground.

 

Kids play at Rutledge-Wilson Farm Community Park in Springfield, Missouri.

7. You’ll learn about local history. At Founders Park, explore a timeline, photos and murals explaining the city’s first 100 years. The Gray/Campbell Homestead at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park is the oldest house in Springfield and is a great place to explore the past.

 

Founders Park in Springfield, Missouri.

8. Even if you can’t swim, you can still enjoy playing in water. The interactive fountain at Jordan Valley Park shoots up streams of water periodically, making grownups laugh as kids squeal in the spray. The city’s parks include eight public pools, including indoor facilities at Chesterfield and Doling parks.

 

Kids play in the fountains at Jordan Valley Park in Springfield, Missouri.

9. Parks are a great way to get fit! Walk, run or bike the trails found at most parks, including the linear parks that make up the Ozarks Greenways Trails Network.

 

Bikers explore the Ozarks Greenways Trails Network in Springfield, Missouri.

This is just a small sample of the wonderful park facilities available in and near Springfield. For a complete list and more details, visit the Springfield-Greene County Park Board website at parkboard.org or call 417-864-1049.