The International Friendship Park in Cincinnati, Ohio is a wonderful place for a family outing, date or cultural experience.It is located near the Ohio River and can be a great way to spend part of your trip to the area. The park is designed around a path, which winds in the shape of a friendship bracelet and is lined with many unusual plants. Each section of the park is introduced by a large medallion and there are things pressed into the pathway to make imprints. The park has many places to sit and rest and enjoy the view. The works of art are approachable, particularly the earth sculptures.
The amphitheatre is a great example of public art. The earth has been moved to form seating where all can see the tree and rock which form the stage. In between the fingers of the second earth sculpture is a nice place to lie down and the finger hills are great for frolicking. I took my family with me and we spent nearly three hours playing and taking photos on the rock sculptures and exploring the plants.
The kids liked the Garden of Africa with its tall grasses to hide in.
The Castle of Air was also a favorite with its mirrored surfaces. We stood (cautiously) in the path of the sun rays coming from the sculpture to warm up from the chilly day.
The Crystalline Tower was tall enough to be seen from the highway with an arch bridge attached. From certain points, the arch on the tower and the arch over the river in the distance could be seen together which made a striking image.
Aside from the one area where homes could be seen, one could imagine that they were in another world. The park is designed to blend together and each area is woven together to mix the different gardens together. It is a world in and of itself, whereas many other public artworks are a part of the world they are in. Though the park holds different sculptures, the park itself is also a work of art. It is a very natural environment with the plant life becoming a part of the art itself.
The area the park occupies signifies the coming together of many diverse cultures and the blending of those cultures into one cohesive space. While each section is different, they share some symbols and features that make them operate as one space. This space does not feel as if it is in the city. There is a sense of belonging to the space.
The International Friendship Park may be my new favorite place and we had to promise the children a return trip in the spring. We spent nearly three hours there and would have stayed longer if the restrooms were open. Now that I am aware of the depth of the public space, we will come prepared next time with a lunch and a good book and make a day of it. I could imagine using this space as my backyard if I lived in the area.