Wei Wu Ying Metropolitan Park: Wander in one of Kaohsiung City's Most Beautiful Parks／在衛武營都會公園深呼吸 逛遊城市綠色夢境
Wei Wu Ying Metropolitan Park:
Wander in one of Kaohsiung City's Most Beautiful Parks
◎English translation: Wendy Wei Chang
◎Photos by Jhang Jian Ying-hao, Li Yun-yu
May children grow up with grass, flowers, and trees.
May lovers stroll through gardens.
May the elderly have a place to relax, walk, and exercise.
May residents dream sweet green dreams.
(This short verse is inscribed on a gray stone at the Sanduo Road entrance of Wei Wu Ying Metropolitan Park.)
Wei Wu Ying Metropolitan Park is located on the previous site of a military base, where only authorized personnel were allowed access. After a great deal of hard work by city government and other non-governmental organizations, the military base was transformed into an ecological metropolitan park. Beside the park, the Wei Wu Ying Center for the Arts is currently under construction and is expected to be completed at the end of 2016. Wei Wu Ying Metropolitan Park will become a mecca for residents to enjoy the arts, ecology and Kaohsiung's beauty.
Explore the Park's Six Distinct Sections
With its 50 acres and six sections, Wei Wu Ying Metropolitan Park is the biggest ecological park in sothern Taiwan. It is surrounded by Sanduo Road, Nanjing Road, Zihci Road, Jhongjheng Freeway and is conveniently located beside Exit 3 of the Orange Line's Wei Wu Ying KRTS Station. Visitors are also recommended to rent a bike and enjoy the sunset there.
The Dreamland Zone
The Dreamland Zone is located on the northern section of the park. Its entrance is located on Sanduo Road and is the location of many old banyan trees. Paths are gracefully intertwined with green trees, leading to a 5.2 acre North Lake Zone. With its beautiful lake and landscape, it is a very calming and relaxing area. The lake's two islands are home to a variety of species and ecological systems.
The Urban Garden Zone
The Urban Garden Zone is located near the park's most easterly entrance. Different plants such as irises and sage can be found in this region. Plaques describe the flower and fauna, so visitors can easily identify them. This is a great place to learn about plants and enjoy nature.
The Natural Exploration Zone
The Natural Exploration Zone occupies nearly half of the park. Visitors can enjoy native plants, diverse birdlife and insects inhabiting the area's wetlands. A covered footbridge which spans the lake; allowing visitors to peer through holes to watch wildlife and reducing disturbances, so visitors can watch wildlife in a more natural setting. Surrounded by mahogany trees, the observation deck and forest classroom are additional, wonderful places to observe and experience nature.
Camouflage Park Zone – Inspired by the Former Military Base
The Camouflage and Military Park Zones are located near the southern entrance on Zihci Road. Its architecture integrates military symbols and camouflage. The wooden benches in the zone are constructed from materials from the base's old buildings and houses that have since been demolished. The Military Park Zone has kept most of its original military designs and features street furniture, wooden floors and plant pots. The trail leads to a lookout which was the previous location of the former military base's water tower. It is a great place for visitors to enjoy the park's beautiful vistas and landscape. The scenic old banyans and drought-tolerant trees contribute to the park's tropical atmosphere. It has become a popular spot for photographers to come and capture the area's magical scenery and get a feel for the local history. Located at the most westerly side of the park, a path which runs in a north - south direction is also surrounded by mahogany trees. Visitors can stroll or cycle past Phanera purpurea, camphor and mango trees. With a complete transformation from military base to park, the area has not only retained its original ecological systems, but also connects people with history.
A Park with an Arts Center and a Bright Future
Besides the park's enchanting natural scenery, visitors are also looking forward to the completion of the Wei Wu Ying Center for the Arts, which will be completed by 2016. When Dutch architect Ms. Francine Houben visited Kaohsiung in 2007, she was inspired by the shape of the old banyan trees, found throughout the Wei Wu Ying Metropolitan Park. In southern Taiwan, residents particularly enjoy outdoor activities and therefore Ms. Houben designed the wavy building to resemble a giant ray swimming towards the sea. The center will feature international and national artistic performances and will also become an important place for Taiwanese to come and cultivate a taste for a variety of arts. Wei Wu Ying Metropolitan Park is a great place to enjoy theatrical performances and experience the beauty of nature. Its diversity and artistic culture has transformed a mysterious and serious military base into a treasure box full of diverse species and birdlife.
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