The best parks in Lagos – Lonely Planet

There are over 300 parks and gardens in Lagos State, and the city continues to get greener.

Lagos holds its annual tree planting day on July 14 every year as part of a larger plan to build a greener city. Businesses are embracing roundabouts to turn them into pretty green spaces, and botanical gardens are popping up in public schools.

If you want to explore some of Lagos’ ecological bounty, here is a list of parks popular with Lagosians.

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Visit Nature’s Classroom: LUFASI Nature Park

The Lagos Urban Forestry and Animal Shelter Initiative (LUFASI) feels like a combination of a nature classroom and a dozen different parks rolled into one. Far from the daily bustle of the Lekki-Epe highway, every step you take through this 25-hectare (62-acre) patch of mangrove vegetation is a tutorial in all things environmental.

As you explore the calm setting, you’ll find quotes scattered about that promote the healing powers of nature. Brief descriptions identify different tree species and their popular local uses.

Animal rights activists will appreciate the park’s growing collection of rescued monkeys, donkeys and horses, which enjoy professional veterinary care. There are birdsongs all around, punctuated by the honking of geese and the quacking of ducks. Try swimming in the forest near the rare Iron Redwood (Ekki) tree, relax on the badminton and basketball courts, or play table tennis while the kids keep busy in the playground. games.

Head to Lekki Conservation Center to see Africa’s longest canopy walkway © Dumbra / Shutterstock

Say hello to the monkeys at Lekki Conservation Center

Lekki Conservation Center is one of the ecotourism hotspots in Lagos. Established in 1990, it covers 78 hectares (about 193 acres) of wetlands, mangrove forests and savannah vegetation. Locals from Lagos come here – mainly on weekends – primarily for its 401-metre-long (1,315 ft) canopy walkway.

Each of the six towers of the canopy walkway offers stunning views of the forest canopy. Trails and the canopy walkway lead to the Family Park section, where visitors can order drinks and barbecues, picnic, or relax at one of the multiple gazebos. Kids will love feeding the fish, and you’ll find tilapia and koi ponds here.

Mona monkeys are the park’s most famous wildlife and will literally wave to you as you head out on the parkways. Some of the other thrills here: the east trail has a crocodile lookout, bird hideout, and marsh views; and the western trail offers a chance to climb up to a treehouse, about 20m (65ft) above the ground.

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Have a picnic at Muri Okunola Park

If you’ve been to Muri Okunola Park (Victoria Island) on a Saturday, chances are you’ll come across a group of work buddies hanging out, picnicking on their green spot; or celebrants celebrating their birthdays with friends and family, feasting and dancing through it all.

Elsewhere on the premises, a bamboo bar serves up shakes, smoothies, and a variety of drinks, while keeping its patrons moving to a playlist of contemporary Afrobeats.

It is one of the few city parks with a small collection of books, although it is almost always closed. Wherever you choose to sit in the park, you won’t miss the 40-foot fiberglass monument, Mrs, celebrate motherhood. Another installation of the Eyo Masquerade, made from scrap aluminum, hangs further on the south wall.

freedom park
Built to preserve the history and cultural heritage of Nigerians, Freedom Park is a memorial and recreation park in the middle of downtown Lagos © Fela Sanu / Getty Images

Spend an evening at Freedom Park

A hundred years ago, this facility was a prison run by the colonial government; over the past decade – thanks to the design genius of local architects – it has transformed into a pleasant park.

Take a rest on the park benches judiciously planted among the trees of the garden or stroll through the paths that crisscross the park to discover different sections of the park: fountain, ponds, amphitheater, food court and galleries.

On weekdays, you’ll find Lagos locals here sitting in the evening rush hours enjoying drinks and a concert, or attending the arts programs that the park is also known to host, including concerts, exhibitions , craft fairs, book readings and theater performances. .

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Spend some family time at Johnson Jakande Tinubu Park

Johnson Jakande Tinubu (JJT) Park in Alausa Central Business District features a mini waterfall, fountain, children’s play area, love nest, several gazebos and a lush lawn suitable for picnics. It is also the public face of the desire to make Lagos greener.

The Lagos State House of Assembly complex adjoins the park. Here you will find three statues representing former governors of the city, in whose honor the park was built.

On busy days, the park hosts book fairs and meeting places. And while here, you are only a short walk from the Lagos Parliament Building and the Secretary of State. The Governor’s Office (by appointment only) is also nearby and is decorated with a 60-foot concrete and metal EcoTree, a symbol of beauty and the synergy of technology and the arts.

Have a picnic and a history lesson at Jaekel House Garden

Fancy a picnic against the backdrop of a 124-year-old colonial-era mansion? If so, plan it for Jaekel House Gardens in the Ebute Metta area of ​​the city. Nestled inside the old railway complex, you can take a guided tour of the mini-museum inside to gain insight into Nigeria’s railway history and the critical role played by the Nigeria Railway Corporation before and after. independence.

Lagos National Arts Theater
If you’re heading to the National Theater of the Arts, Lagos, take some time to enjoy the beautifully landscaped gardens surrounding the building © HorploadWorks Photography / 500px

See the lawn of the National Theater, then enjoy a bite to eat

The National Theatre, built to host the 2nd World Festival of Black and African Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in 1977, is one of Lagos’ main architectural gems. Beyond its eye-catching exterior, the shade trees and lawns surrounding it have served Lagosians as picnic spots for decades.

A $100 million renovation is underway to transform the complex into a creative and entertainment hub; and by the end of 2022, visitors should be able to access it by surface tram.

Tourists may want to take a break at one of the many bars and restaurants located in a part of the premises commonly known as “Abe Igi” for an assortment of food and drink.

For swimming, games and even a zoo, head to Shodex Garden

Shodex Gardens is a horticulturalist’s delight, teeming with a diverse collection of plants. With careful labeling of the different species, you will leave the experience better informed about the flora on display.

This is a good place for an afternoon drink if you don’t mind the noise of vehicles coming and going on the always busy Ikorodu road.

One of the most family-friendly areas around, its playground, swimming pool, games room and sculpture garden are a delight for children. There is a modest zoo popular with excursion students. The Garden is busiest on the weekends (and it’s also open for longer hours), when adults crowd into the bar, munch on small chops, and enjoy a musical treat from the in-house DJ.

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Green thumbs won’t want to miss RF Gardens

Be warned: if you don’t care about plants, RF Gardens will probably convert you. Located in the serene region of Ikoyi, almost every square inch is covered with plants and flowers, beautifully grown in pots and vases of various shapes, colors and sizes. There’s an exciting variety to enjoy and, if you’re inspired, you’ll find plenty of garden supplies and accessories inside.

Visitors could easily spend an entire day at this family-run business, with an indoor cafe and bar and grill.

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