St. Louis, Missouri's “Forest Park is at least “__” times the size of New York City's Central Park” (insert number from two to ten). Since moving to St. Louis, I have heard these words said time and time again. I decided it was time for a definitive answer.
St. Louisans take great pride in Forest Park, one of the oldest parks in the country and an important piece of St. Louis history and landscape architecture. After a previous proposal for a park within the city was rejected, Forest Park was created in 1872. The then rural park was accessible by streetcar. Today, although the sprawling city has expanded to surround the park’s original four borders, the park’s dedicated land has remained untouched. In 1904, 20 million people visited Forest Park for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition World’s Fair. The park still houses the original gates to the fair and original building, which was converted to the Missouri History Museum.
The Missouri History Museum and World’s Fair Pavilion are just two tourist attractions, which draw 12 million visitors to Forest park each year, making the park the fourth most visited park in the country. The park is also home to the Saint Louis Zoo, Saint Louis Science Center, Saint Louis Art Museum, Municipal Theatre Association, and an art deco greenhouse pet-named “The Jewel Box.” Additionally, the park houses a golf course, tennis center, and skating rink. Home to all of these activities and more, Forest Park is truly an amazing facet of the St. Louis landscape. So, how big is Forest Park really?
To calculate accurate dimensions for the park, I used the measure distance tool on Google Maps to find that the park is 2.99 miles by 1 mile, or approximately 3 square miles.
In comparison, Central Park in New York City measures half a mile by 3 miles, or approximately 1.5 square miles.
Therein lies the definitive answer to the question: how much bigger is Forest Park to Central Park is: twice as big.
How do the parks in your neighborhood stack up to Central Park? Is there an urban park in your city for which citizens take great pride in? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments area below.
Credits: Data linked to sources. Images by Lindsay Naughton.