Crystal Palace Park is definitely one of the most interesting parks I’ve been to in London. With different attractions like dinosaurs, a maze, the National Sports Centre, and it’s own form of ruins, it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon there.
As soon as I got off the train I saw a sign that mapped out the park and noticed “the dinosaurs.” I obviously wanted to go there first, but was wondering about what they meant by dinosaurs. Of course I wasn’t expecting real dinosaurs or anything… but I’ve been to a lot of places where they advertise exhibits of large iguanas and other lizard types as “dinosaurs”, not my thing. So as I approached the enormous stone statues I was actually a little relieved.
The landscaping around the lake was so pretty with allthe autumn colors and it was sort of a misty afternoon, it was like I was in Jurassic park…cool. I walked around and got to read about the different Dinosaurs and there is even a “Darwin and the Dinosaurs” audio trail you can follow to learn even more.
The dinosaur lake is near another lake that had boats to rent, but I reckon they’re not used much anymore due to the cold weather. I walked down to the cafe, bought a hot chocolate and headed back up the main road past all the little kids on the playground and couldn’t resist playing in a few leaves myself.
On my walk back toward the top of the park, I walked around the NationalSports Centre stadium, and although I couldn’t go inside, the walk around it was really cool to see.
As I was looking for the Crystal Palace Museum (that I later found out is only open on weekends anyways) I hit the old Italian terraces. I was so confused as to what these were and why they were there, but they were beautiful none the less.
They were sort of in ruin, and there were roman-esque busts and statues everywhere, with a couple of sphinx thrown in. Later I realized this was actually the remains of the actual crystal palace that was moved from Hyde park, but burned down in 1936, which actually was really fascinating albeit kind of spooky.
I really enjoyed my afternoon in Crystal Palace, there was so much to see and the scenery was beautiful. For more information please go to www.crystalpalacepark.org.uk.