Stanley Park (Westfield, MA)

As you enter the main parking entrance to the lush, well manicured 300 acre Stanley Park, you could easily take it for a playground or picnic area, at least at first glance. But, don’t be fooled.  There lies a bevy of trails, wildlife and plant life as well as an assortment of memorials nestled behind the soccer nets, basketball courts and play areas.

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Stanley Park has several walking bridges and elevated wooden walking paths to view the various wildlife.  The park also has a waterfall and mill.

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The critters are not shy either.  Being accustomed to the visitors, particularly those with food, chipmunks, ducks and squirrels (grey and black) will approach you within inches in the hopes of getting food, in this case peanuts, to store or eat. Aren’t they patient?

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Since the animals there are so used to seeing people and often being fed, Stanley Park is an ideal place to photograph all types of wildlife, especially the amateur photographer.  It’s pretty easy to get an otherwise skittish animal to get close enough to get a good shot of them, like these critters below.

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Unfortunately, during my most recent visit to the park, a park worker informed me you must pay a fee to take photos, a steep one at that.  I am still looking into this (the person in charge of the parks and recreational services was conveniently on vacation when I called Monday).  So, my trip was cut short.  I do have photos on my phone from a previous visit, though.  Posted below are the photos shot with my camera phone.  After looking into the matter with City Hall, an official told us the fee is only for weddings and other functions.  A person shooting photos on their own does not have to pay the fee.

The Connecticut River runs through Stanley Park which gives ample opportunity to get some pretty views.

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Yes, those are Koi fish in the river.

Stanley Park also has a well maintained garden that has a variety of plant life such as petunias and roses.

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There are also miles of trails that runs along the Connecticut River.  You could spend all day, or many hours following all of the trails.

Stanley Park also has many memorials and statues scattered around the flower and garden area.  The memorial below was erected in memory of Otto Bono Galegari who was killed in the Korean War.  Otto’s father constructed the monument in his son’s memory.  Just contemplating the emotional undertaking this must have been is inspiring.  In fact, it seems out of place in a park where people casually while away their summer days texting and playing catch.  It deserves a more reverent setting.

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And some religious guy:

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There is also the Angel of Independence statue which was set up as a tribute to the relationship between the United States and Mexico.

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There is also a visitor’s center that has a  a map of North America in front of the structure (not virtual size).

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Overall, Stanley Park is a great place to spend the day or just a few hours (you’ll quickly lose track of time when you’re there).  Just remember to bring lots of snacks for the squirrels, birds and ducks.

About New England Nomad

Hi I'm Wayne. Welcome to my blog. I am a true New Englander through and through. I love everything about New England. I especially love discovering new places in New England and sharing my experiences with everyone. I tend to focus on the more unique and lesser known places and things in New England on my blog. Oh yeah, and I love dogs. I always try to include at least one dog in each of my blog posts. I discovered my love of photography a couple of years ago. I know, I got a late start. Now, I photograph anything that seems out of the ordinary, interesting, beautiful and/or unique. And I have noticed how every person, place or thing I photograph has a story behind it or him or her. I don't just photograph things or people or animals. I try to get their background, history or as much information as possible to give the subject more context and meaning. It's interesting how one simple photograph can evoke so much. I am currently using a Nikon D3200 "beginner's camera." Even though there are better cameras on the market, and I will upgrade some time, I love how it functions (usually) and it has served me well. The great thing about my blog is you don't have to be from New England, or even like New England to like my blog (although I've never met anyone who doesn't). All you have to like is to see and read about new or interesting places and things. Hopefully, you'll join me on my many adventures in New England! View all posts by New England Nomad

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