Familie am Teich, © Grugapark Essen

Gruga­park in Es­sen

Es­sen’s most beau­ti­ful garden

Re­lax­a­tion and ad­ven­ture, nature and cul­ture, sports fa­cil­it­ies and pic­nic/bar­be­cue areas – avail­able all year round in Es­sen’s most beau­ti­ful park.

It’s al­ways peak sea­son at the Gruga­park. At the “Parkleucht­en” il­lu­min­a­tions in Feb­ru­ary, the rock­er­ies in the Alpine garden glow ma­gic­ally after dusk and lightart can be seen in every oth­er tree­top. Later, when spring ar­rives, bursts of col­our await day­time vis­it­ors to Es­sen’s most beau­ti­ful garden – af­fec­tion­ately known as the “Gruga”.

The heart of the Gruga­park is the large botan­ic­al garden: exot­ic sur­prises await through­out the Forest Val­ley – from an­cient bon­sai to huge cacti, and from trop­ic­al groves to the “In­di­an Sum­mer”. No less im­press­ive are the flag­ships of West­ern garden­ing, such as the West­phali­an Farm­er’s Garden, the charm­ing Rose Garden and the Rhodo­den­dron Val­ley.

The park was ori­gin­ally cre­ated in 1929 for the first Great Ruhr Land­scape Garden­ing Ex­hib­i­tion, or “Gruga” for short in Ger­man. In the 1940s, how­ever, it was al­most com­pletely des­troyed by Al­lied bomb­ing. Its cur­rent design is shaped in equal parts by the gently slop­ing lawns, small hills and pan­or­amic views, which are the product of the post-war peri­od, and the ex­per­i­ence-ori­ented park design, which was con­ceived for the 1965 Ger­man Garden Show.

A wide range of leis­ure activ­it­ies

The con­trast between these two garden con­cepts is what makes the Gruga so di­verse. Bird watch­ers can mingle with her­ons and flamin­gos in large bird en­clos­ures, art lov­ers can dis­cov­er over 40 sculp­tures amid the green­ery and sporty vis­it­ors can play beach vol­ley­ball, ten­nis or boules. There is also a strong em­phas­is on Well­ness with the “Kur vor Ort” park spa, where salt wa­ter runs down a large gradu­ation tower, evap­or­at­ing on the wall of brush­wood. Pass­ers-by can then breathe in the be­ne­fi­cial salty air.

A par­tic­u­lar high­light for art-lov­ers is the Hun­der­t­wasser­haus, a fant­ast­ic­al build­ing de­signed by the well-known artist and ar­chi­tect Friedens­reich Hun­der­t­wasser shortly be­fore his death. An­oth­er pop­u­lar at­trac­tion, which opened in 2014, is the Ok­t­o­rail mini­ature rail­way ex­hib­i­tion, which trans­ports vis­it­ors back to the in­dus­tri­al world of the Ruhr. Park fest­ivals, Sunday con­certs and cab­aret shows add vari­ety and a con­vivi­al at­mo­sphere to the park.

Young fam­il­ies will also find Gruga­park one of the best places for an out­ing in the Ruhr Area. Wheth­er it is tack­ling the high rope course, go­ing wild in the maze and up the climb­ing tower, or tak­ing the park train to the pet­ting zoo, the Gruga has no short­age of ways to keep the little ones oc­cu­pied in the fresh air.

Visu­ally im­paired and wheel­chair-bound vis­it­ors can also en­joy the Gruga­park thanks to a 1.3 kilo­metre ac­cess­ible cir­cu­lar path which passes fea­tures in­clud­ing the Rose Gar­dens, the Bam­boo Grove and the “Garden of the Senses”.

Open­ing hours:

Open all year: 9 am to dusk

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Familie am Teich, © Grugapark Essen

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