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South Park, originally a large meadow and Lawrence’s oldest park, was platted with the original town site in 1854. It currently covers fourteen acres and is located in the heart of beautiful Downtown Lawrence. The rich tradition of South Park continues today as Lawrence’s premiere outdoor gathering place.
The park is home to diverse gardens, landscape beds and other features such as the William Kelly Bandstand, and a historical Theodore Roosevelt Fountain. South Park is host to a variety of events including summer playground camp, summer band concerts, Art in the Park, an Earth Day Celebration, Fiddler Picker Championship, and many other activities which attract thousands of Kansas citizens. The Arboretum at South Park offers an oasis from the city scene through its large plantings and diverse tree species. There are over three hundred trees in the Arboretum, with fifty different species. To share this story, an inventory of the trees was developed through Lawrence Parks and Recreation’s use of GIS mapping. An ESRI story board was developed for the city web site. This provides a way for citizens to interact and learn about the tree species using their phone while in the park and 50 trees have been marked with identification tags. These tools combined help citizens create a personal tree tour that is as in-depth or leisurely as one chooses.