Take a morning jog, enjoy pleasant tropical scents or admire the artwork in Kingston’s favorite park, a tribute to Jamaican residents’ journey to freedom.
Walk through gardens filled with the scents and colors of bougainvillea, orchids and roses and admire the majestic palms in Emancipation Park. Enjoy a picnic on the grass or head to the jogging track for some exercise. Don’t miss the many water features and sculptures that represent Jamaica’s African roots and journey to freedom.
Emancipation Park opened in 2002. It had previously been a large area of scrappy land locally referred to as the dustbowl. Covering 7 acres (3 hectares), it is now a place where local residents and visitors can go to escape the bustle of the city.
The first thing you will see as you enter the park is Laura Facey’s 11-foot (3-meter) statue Redemption Song. This features two bronze nudes, a male and a female, and is embossed with Marcus Garvey’s lyrics “None but ourselves can free our mind” from the Bob Marley song. Walk the paths around the park and you will notice more statues. Known as Adinkras, these depict African symbols as a testament to the roots of the Jamaican people. Look for the statue of the two-headed crocodile, a wafa tree seed and a symbolic fence.
Discover Jamaica’s national flower, the lignum vitae, and its national tree, the blue mahoe, in the flower garden. Stroll past sections filled with bright orchids, bougainvillea and other tropical flowers as well as five rose beds. Various species are in bloom throughout the year; the ever-present bright colors represent the joy of emancipation.
Joggers will enjoy a run around the 500-meter track, while others can sit beneath the shade of one of the park’s impressive royal palms and enjoy a picnic or a game of chess. Watch a free musical performance at the park’s permanent stage or listen to the calming sound of the many water features. A jerk chicken outlet and an ice-cream parlor are close by if you’d like to bring some refreshments to the park.
Emancipation Park is located on the corner of Knutsford Boulevard and Oxford Road in central Kingston.