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Picnics are a wonderful way to enjoy the summertime with friends and family. For those who live in towns and cities, a public park is one of the best places to relax and dine outdoors. In addition to providing the perfect spot to lay your picnic blanket, a park can provide a place to enjoy plants and wildlife, a space for children to run and play, or just a patch of grass to nap in. Here are some fun facts about parks and picnics to discuss while munching on potato salad this summer:
- The entire country of Monaco could fit inside Central Park, with plenty of room to spare. Monaco may be one of the smallest countries in the world, but the fact that it could easily fit inside New York City’s Central Park is still remarkable. The famous park covers an astounding 843 acres (341 hectares), which is the size of about 640 football fields. The landscape architects Fredrick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed Central Park to include rolling meadows with winding paths, offset by forested areas, gathering spaces, lakes, and formal gardens. They wanted it to provide an escape into nature, and a place for people of different backgrounds to come together. Today, Central Park provides just that. Its many features include a zoo, an ice rink, a carousel, and plenty of picnicking spots!
- The smallest park in the world can be crossed in a single footstep. Mill Ends Park in Portland, OR in the United States measures only 2 feet (0.6 meters) in diameter. Legend has it that a colony of leprechauns makes use of the park and the tiny pavement that encircles it. Mill Ends Park was designated as a city park on St. Patrick’s Day in 1948.
- Forest bathing in a local park can help reduce stress. In Japan, forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, is a popular way of maintaining good health. The method is simple- set aside time to spend in a park, forest, or other natural environment to reap mental and physical benefits, such as lowered blood pressure and reduced stress and anxiety. To get the most out of a forest bath, Dr. Qing Li, president of the Japanese Society of Forest Therapy, suggests relaxing while using all of your senses to interact with and react to the environment. For example, a forest bather might sniff flowers, touch trees, and listen for animal sounds. Residents of Tokyo visit the Hinohara Tokyo Citizens’ Forest, Arisugawa-no-miya Memorial Park, and other enchanting parks for a dose of shinrin-yoku.
- Even Robin Hood and his Merry Men had picnics. The tales of Robin Hood describe picnics held by the legendary English outlaw. He and his Merry Men would relax in the shade of trees to enjoy their bread and cheese. Other classic literary works featuring picnics include The Wizard of Oz, Winnie-the-Pooh, and David Copperfield.
Learn more fun facts by checking out the World Book WOW website! There, you can find games, eBooks, homework help, and lots of interesting information. Visit https://www.worldbookwow.com/.
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