Baihuatan Park and a Chinese “Playground”

Friends, are you ready to hear about more of our adventures in China? After completing our paperwork and visiting the Panda Reserve, we had one free day in Chengdu before we had to fly to Guangzhou for our appointment with the US Consulate. We considered lots of activities, but decided the best option would be to give the boys some unscheduled time and a place just to run around and play together.

Our guide took us to Baihuatan Park, which is located by the Jinjiang River in western downtown Chengdu. Its name literally means the Pond of a Hundred Flowers. The park is relatively large, compared to the parks I’m used to here, covering  87,000 sq meters, and is known for being divided into smaller themed gardens. There are a variety of ponds, teahouses, gardens, and bonsai gardens to explore, and the boys did just that.

They ran down the paths, crossed every bridge, and explored all there was to see. Although the park was quiet and not at all crowded, we did see some other families enjoying the scenery, as well as a Chinese dance class, a photographer, and folks enjoying their morning tea. It was actually so peaceful that I forgot we were in the middle of a huge metropolitan city!

There were so many picturesque views, and even the boys stopped running long enough to appreciate some of them.

Our guide pointed out that not only is it beautiful, the park is full of history. For example, this tree is centuries old and has stood in that spot since one of the ancient dynasties.

Baihuatan Park also pays homage to Li Yaotang, better known by his pen name Ba Jin, a Chinese author and political activist best known for his novel Family. He was born in Chengdu, and is considered to be one of the most important and widely read Chinese writers of the 20th century.

The boys’ favorite part of the park, though, was hands down the section called the “playground.” When we saw that on the signs, we expected to find a swing set and some sliding boards like what you’d see in a playground here in the United States. Instead, we found ourselves in the midst of a permanent carnival!

There were games and rides, and the boys had an absolute blast! Rather than buying tickets for the rides, you had to load a minimum deposit onto a card. When the card was swiped, money would come off for each ride. You could add more money if you needed to, or if you didn’t use it all, you could get the leftover amount refunded when you were finished! Can you imagine if carnivals here gave you money back?!

Bumper cars were a big hit, literally, and they also did a flume style ride and rode some flying spaceships. You know, just an average day at the “playground,” right?

We absolutely loved the park, and fortunately, aside from the rides, it was free for us to enjoy. Hubby and I both agreed that we definitely made the right call choosing a spot that allowed the kiddos to get their energy out and play.

If you ever happen to visit Chengdu, we highly recommend checking it out!

Stay tuned for more photos from our trip, including a boat cruise on the Pearl River and our visit to the Great Wall!

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