PATTERSON PARK, BALTIMORE

A 27-foot-long platypus and 25-foot-long caterpillar are just some of the outrageous people-powered creatures that have participated in Baltimore’s annual Kinetic Sculpture Race. The park also encourages dress-up for its Great Halloween Lantern Parade and for BARCStoberfest, with contests for best pet costume and pet trick. Dogs (and their owners) like to loll about on a gently sloping hill near the restored 1890 Pagoda.

Coolest Time to Visit: May, when you can catch both the wacky Kinetic Sculpture Race and the annual Bike Jam, a daylong cycling festival for watching races and participating in public rides, including a 12-mile waterfront route.

PIEDMONT PARK, ATLANTA
The concert lineup here has included Sir Paul McCartney, the Eagles, and the Dave Matthews Band—and those are just the rock legends. Jazz takes over for the annual May festival, and music also plays a part in the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, which celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2011 with more than 70 sets (from a Native American flute performer to a Turkish folk dance group). Groundbreaking on a 53-acre extension started in 2008 and has already produced a bocce court, an aquatic center with lap lanes, and a children’s splashing area.
Coolest Time to Visit: Memorial Day Weekend is the high point of the annual Atlanta Jazz Festival, which has seen legends like Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie perform.

SCHENLEY PARK, PITTSBURGH
There’s a sport for everyone. Choose among 13 tennis courts, a soccer field, a running track, a high-jump area, and golf courses: an 18-hole Frisbee golf course and a traditional 4,600-yard course on rolling terrain with an indoor practice facility. Of course, you can also take it slow. Stroll by rare miniature orchids and primitive tree ferns at Phipps Conservatory or plop with a blanket on Flagstaff Hill, where movies are screened on summer evenings.

Coolest Time to Visit: During the free Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix (July 15–24, 2011). Some 200,000 visitors cheer on 150 sports cars—including prewar and MG T Series vehicles—as they navigate 23 turns (not to mention hay bales) around the park’s Paddock Drive.

GOVERNORS ISLAND, NEW YORK CITY

Instead of lazing in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow or Great Lawn, you now have the option to head south for eclectic art, food events, and even a sandy beach at this former military base off the tip of lower Manhattan. For circus geeks, there are flying trapeze lessons on the weekends; others rock out to awesome waterfront concerts from the likes of M.I.A. and Passion Pit. Getting to Governors Island has its own appeal: the free ferry ride from Manhattan’s Battery Maritime Building or Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 offers panoramic views of the skyline and the Statue of Liberty.

Coolest Time to Visit: Fridays from late May through early October, when hour-long bike rentals are free (normally $15 for adults). The island has a car-free policy, so cyclists rule the roads.

GRANT PARK, CHICAGO
The northwest corner, dubbed Millennium Park, made headlines when it opened in 2004 with the Frank Gehry–designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion and Anish Kapoor’s stainless-steel Cloud Gate—the shiny, reflective bean-shaped sculpture that’s become an instant city icon and popular photo-op. Compare the outdoor installations to the collections within the park’s Art Institute of Chicago, famous for Grant Wood’s American Gothic.
Coolest Time to Visit: Summer, when the lakefront park hosts two major events: Taste of Chicago, the world’s largest outdoor food festival, with treats from 70-plus local restaurants, and Lollapalooza, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in August 2011.

PAPAGO PARK, PHOENIX/TEMPE
Orange-red sandstone geological rock formations like Hole-in-the-Rock have been a fixture of this 1,200-acre park for millennia. The Desert Botanical Garden, a more recent addition, nurtures cacti, succulents, and other desert plants—amid a rotating collection of modern art that has ranged from steel sculptures by Ludvic to a 17-piece glass installation by Dale Chihuly. The park is also home to the Phoenix Zoo, which opened a new exhibit for its orangutan family in April 2011.

Coolest Time to Visit: Sunset, when the sandstone buttes take on a deeper, more fantastic color. Arrive before 7 p.m., when entrances close (trails remain open until 11 p.m.). While the city skyline is visible from Hole-in-the-Rock, the most sweeping views are from South Mountain. Don’t forget your camera!

DISCOVERY GREEN PARK, HOUSTON

Concrete parking lots were torn up to make way for this 12-acre downtown paradise of lawns, a man-made lake, and cool features like 14-foot-high arcing water jets. Dog jumping and other wacky competitions, free classes, and fine dining at James Beard award–winning chef Robert Del Grande’s restaurants have helped lure some three million visitors since the opening in 2008. It’s a transformation that would make singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell proud.

Coolest Time to Visit: During Houston’s annual Restaurant Week (actually a month, August 1–31, 2011), whose participants include Del Grande’s park restaurant, The Grove. Its elegant, glass-walled dining room overlooks century-old live oak trees.

FOREST PARK, ST. LOUIS
A one-stop destination for many of St. Louis’s finest cultural institutions: the McDonnell Planetarium; the Cass Gilbert–designed Saint Louis Art Museum, with paintings by mid-20th-century masters like Andy Warhol and a 56-foot-tall steel tree by contemporary artist Roxy Paine; and the Muny, the country’s oldest outdoor musical theater. With 500 more acres than Central Park, it has plenty of room left for picnic areas, including covered pavilions with barbecue pits.
Coolest Time to Visit: September, when dozens of colorful hot-air balloons take to the sky, originating from Central Field, for the annual Great Forest Park Balloon Race.

GOLDEN GATE PARK, SAN FRANCISCO
This iconic park—where the Summer of Love kicked off in 1967 and dreadlocked drummers still gather in circles—has gotten at least some updates. The de Young Museum reopened with a Herzog & de Meuron–designed building in 2005 that mounts blockbuster exhibits like a collection of 100-plus Picasso works on loan from Paris. The California Academy of Sciences, whose eco-friendly Renzo Piano structure debuted in 2008, has a 1.7 million plant “living” roof and restaurants by star chefs Charles Phan and Loretta Keller.

Coolest Time to Visit: Sundays, when John F. Kennedy Drive is closed to cars and the outdoor swing-dance party, Lindy in the Park, takes place (11 a.m.–2 p.m., with free beginner lessons at noon).

AMERICA’S COOLEST CITY PARKS

FLYING TRAPEZE LESSONS, HOT-AIR BALLOON RACES, SWING-DANCE PARTIES: GET YOUR KICKS AT AMERICA’S COOLEST CITY PARKS.

BALBOA PARK, SAN DIEGO
The sprawling 1,200-acre Balboa Park packs in more than two dozen cultural institutions, including the Tony Award–winning Old Globe theater, the San Diego Museum of Art, and the famed San Diego Zoo, one of the world’s few zoos with resident giant pandas. The park overlooks a seriously beautiful backdrop (the Pacific Ocean) and has buildings so stunning that some exteriors were filmed by Orson Welles to represent the grand fictional estate Xanadu in Citizen Kane.

Coolest Time to Visit: Spring, when the zoo animals are more active and the park’s magnificent gardens bloom.

CITY PARK, DENVER
More than 125 years ago, locals first gathered around the park’s bandstand on Ferril Lake to listen to live concerts. The City Park Jazz Summer Concert Series continues that tradition, attracting tens of thousands of concertgoers annually with 10 free jazz, blues, and salsa shows including the 18-piece Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra and local salsa band La Candela. Another updated relic: Ferril Lake’s Electric Prismatic Fountain, whose water patterns change every five minutes, was completed in 2008 to replace the 1909 original.
Coolest Time to Visit: Summer evenings. The jazz concert series takes place on Sundays at 6 p.m., while the Electric Prismatic Fountains’s spectacular lighted shows—employing 116 colored LED fixtures—start each day at dusk.

CITY PARK, NEW ORLEANS
One of the first things park visitors notice is that these are no ordinary trees. This is the world’s largest collection of mature live oaks—majestic, sculptural-looking marvels, the oldest of which have branches that spread out twice as wide as their height (up to 75 feet). Live bands that gather at the finish line of the annual Rock ’n’ Roll Mardi Gras Marathon course lend an only-in-New-Orleans vibe.

Coolest Time to Visit: Thursday evenings (March–October), when the Botanical Garden throws genteel parties with mint juleps and performances by ensembles like the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra.

VISIT THE VILLAGE WINDMILL IN HOLLAND PEACEFUL

AN IDEAL PLACE TO VISIT AND LEARN ABOUT THE WINDMILLS IN ZAANSE SCHANS ANCIENT VILLAGE, LOCATED 10 MINUTES FROM THE CAPITAL AMSTERDAM BY TRAIN.

Located on the outskirts of the capital Amsterdam with about 10 minutes by train from central station, the village has a total of 13 windmills, of which 6 windmills along the river bank stock Zaanse dreaming.These windmills here have reached the age of 300 years, was built in the seventeenth century.

Zaanse Schans village not only attract tourists by the windmill, but also by the landscape, in addition to the windmill, visitors can learn about the traditional architecture of the Netherlands, through old houses built in the last century.
Inside the windmill is the detailed mechanical operation of wind power switch provides useful applications. Initially, these windmills were used to grind rice and other agricultural products. Later, they were used to pump water and this is used to produce electricity.

Because the area inside the village not too broad, you absolutely can walk outside and visiting the workshop area, windmills and natural scenery here.

If you want, you can rent a bike, the primary means to go back in the village. You easily caught bike everywhere they go very fast so you always have to pay attention to travel on their way if do not want to be hitting.

Some key points to visit here is a small wooden houses, windmills and craft making workshops. The bungalows here people still live normal. The windmill you can go inside to see firsthand how it works.However want to visit inside you have to spend a few euros.

Workshop crafted handmade shoes are pretty interesting place. You can witness the process of the workmen made the wooden shoe from the initial raw logs. These colorful wooden shoes are sold at factory for tourists buy as souvenirs.

Getting to the village of Zaanse Schans Windmills simplest is by boat. It only takes about 20 minutes away from the main station of Amsterdam terminal fare Zaandijk with only a few Euros. After the next station, you just walk as directed for 15-20 minutes to get the village. Also you can take bus 391 from the main station of Amsterdam, but it will take time and are not comfortable with the ship.

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