Grugapark in Essen
Essen’s year-round garden
Recovery and experience, nature and culture, sporting opportunities and picnic or barbecue sites – all of that can be found year-round in Essen’s most beautiful park.
The Grugapark is always in season. Garden time starts as early as in February or March here, when the “park illumination” makes the rocks in the alpine garden shimmer as if sprung from a fairy tale in the evening, and every other treetop has some light art to discover. When spring moves into the park a little later, Essen’s most beautiful garden – lovingly called “Gruga” – is bearing full colours even during the day.
The great botanical garden forms the core of the Grugapark: From ancient little bonsai trees to great cactuses, from tropical shrubberies to the “Indian Summer”, the forest valley has exotic surprises in store in every corner. New discoveries are standing side by side with exhibits of Western gardening art, such as a Westphalian farm garden, lovely rose varieties, or a rhododendron copse.
Following its namesake, the first “Große Ruhrländische Gartenschau” (great garden show of the Ruhr area), in short: Gruga, in 1929, several other large garden exhibitions were held in the Grugapark in the course of the years, including the Bundesgartenschau 1965, for which the park was once again greatly expanded. Its current shape is equally characterised by gently curved lawns, hills, and wide vistas that are in particular the result of the concepts for an experience and leisure-oriented park design implemented for the Bundesgartenschau 1965.
Many leisure offerings
That very contrast of different gardening ideas is turning Gruga’s leisure offering so very diverse. Bird enthusiasts are able to walk through the great free-roaming bird facility with ibises and flamingos, lovers of art may discover more than 40 sculptures in the greens, and athletes can meet up for beach volleyball, table tennis, badminton, or a round of boule.
Health plays a great role under the motto of “spa on site”, too. Brine is dripping down a large wall of thorns in a saline, reminding passers-by of a health resort.
Hundertwasserhaus by the park
The Hundertwasserhaus building, designed by the famous painter and graphics designer briefly before his death, has come to attract art enthusiasts in particular. Park festivals, Sunday concerts, cabaret, and markets for rare plants further add to the variety and proper carnival mood in the park.
A park for families
Families with children will find the Grugapark a perfect destination for excursions in the Ruhr area as well. No matter if the little ones prefer to clamber through the rope course, play wild in the labyrinth, or ride the park railway to the enclosure for small animals: Gruga will always have something that children will love doing outdoors.
People with special needs can enjoy the Grugapark as well on a 1.3-kilometre-long accessible round path that leads, among other places, past the rose garden, bamboo copse, and a “garden of the senses”.