Ozark Outdoors

No fooling’, Mizumoto Japanese Stroll, Boathouse open for season

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A couple enjoys the tranquility of the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden during a stroll. The garden opens this weekend (Saturday, April 1-Oct. 31, with an expanded schedule, now seven days a week. For friends of the Garden members, admission is a benefit of membership. For non-members, it’s $3 per person.

Two of Springfield’s most popular outdoor attractions open this Saturday, April 1. Both parks are likely to be popular destinations.

The Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden begins its 2017 season Saturday with new extended hours. For the first time, the garden will be open daily, April 1-Sept. 30, 10 a.m.- 7 p.m.; and Oct. 1-31, 10 a.m-6 p.m.

As well, the Lake Springfield Boathouse will resume boat rentals for the newly extended season beginning Saturday through Oct. 31, nearly doubling the season from previous years. Canoes, single and tandem kayaks, and new this year, paddleboards will available to rent for paddling the James River Water Trail on Lake Springfield.

Created in 1985, Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden is the oldest attraction at Springfield Botanical Gardens in Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, 2400 S. Scenic Ave. The 7.5-acre walled garden includes a large koi lake, moon bridge, meditation garden, teahouse and traditional Japanese garden landscaping. Visitors can walk paved serpentine paths with multiple stopping points to enjoy the serenity of the garden. Master garden landscapers from Isesaki, Japan, have joined in the development of the garden over the past three decades.

“The Botanical Gardens staff is thrilled to be able to provide access to the Japanese Garden on a daily basis during the growing season,” says Katie Keith, Botanical Center Coordinator. “It is the jewel of our garden collections and we want everyone to be able to enjoy it.”

Admission is $3/adults, free for kids age 12 and under and for members of Friends of the Garden. Admission is free all day Sat., April 22, as part of the Cherry Blossom Kite and Piñata Festival at which time a new Peace Through People Pavilion will also be dedicated. A sculpture by Paco Padilla, acclaimed artist from Tlacepaque, Mexico, will be unveiled during a Mariachi musical concert from 3-6 p.m.

For more information about Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden, call the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center at 417-891-1515 or visit ParkBoard.org/Botanical.

As for events at the Lake Springfield Boathouse, stay tuned.

“We are really excited to expand the boat rental season an additional three months,” said Matt Coats, Superintendent of Special Facilities for the Park Board. “Lake Springfield is a great spot for canoe and kayak enthusiasts. And paddleboards are becoming more and more popular here, so we have added three of those to our fleet.”

Boat rentals are available 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays (boats must be returned one hour prior to close.) Rentals fees are $10/boat for an hour or $30/boat for four hours, and include life jackets and paddles. Renters must be age 18 or older, and all children must be accompanied by an adult.
For more information about boat rentals, visit the Lake Springfield Boathouse at Lake Springfield Park, 5324 S. Kissick Ave., or call 417-891-1550, or visit ParkBoard.org/LakeSpringfield.



George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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