A park is an area of natural, semi-natural, or planted space set aside for human enjoyment and recreation or for the protection of wildlife or natural habitats. It may consist of grassy areas, rocks, soil, and trees, but may also contain buildings and other artifacts such as monuments, fountains or playground structures. In North America, many parks have fields for playing sports such as soccer, baseball and football, and paved areas for games such as basketball. Many parks have trails for walking, biking and other activities. Some parks are built adjacent to bodies of water or watercourses, and these parks may comprise a beach or boat dock area. Often, the smallest parks are in urban areas, where a park may take up only a city block or less. Urban parks often have benches for sitting and they may contain picnic tables and barbecue grills. Parks have differing rules regarding whether dogs can be brought into the park: some parks prohibit dogs; some parks allow them with restrictions (e.g., use of a leash); and some parks, which may be called "dog parks," permit dogs to run off-leash.
The largest parks can be vast natural areas of hundreds of thousands of square kilometers (thousands of square miles), with abundant wildlife and natural features such as mountains and rivers. In many large parks, camping in tents is allowed with a permit. Many natural parks are protected by law, and users may have to follow restrictions (e.g., rules against open fires or bringing in glass bottles). Large national and sub-national parks are typically overseen by a park ranger or a park warden. Large parks may have areas for canoeing and hiking in the warmer months and, in some northern hemisphere countries, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in colder months.
Noorderplantsoen is an urban public park in the city of Groningen in the Netherlands, situated slightly north of the city center. Its name is Dutch for northern public garden.
In 1874 the Vestingswet was passed. This law allowed cities to expand outside of the city walls and fortifications. Since the fortifications were no longer in use, they were transformed into a public park. The earth ramparts were incorporated in the park architecture and the moats were turned into ponds. The architecture is of an English garden style, characterized by meandering paths and serpentine ponds, inspired by wild nature. The shape of the park still reflects the former purpose of the area: the long but narrow park curves around the old city. The park includes an Art Nouveau bandstand and a small restaurant.
Until the mid-90s the Noorderplantsoen was split up by a busy road, but a referendum in 1994 decided - with a narrow majority - to close this road for motorized traffic.
Every year a number of events take place in the Noorderplantsoen, of which the Noorderzon Theater Festival is well known. This cultural event takes place at the end of August and is visited by over 125,000 visitors. Many theater, dance and music groups from The Netherlands and abroad perform during this 11-day festival.
Another well-known event in the Noorderplantsoen is the plantsoenloop. This run through the park is held annually in October or early November and attracts about 500 runners. In 2007 the 50th edition of the plantsoenloop took place.
The Vondelpark is a public urban park of 47 hectares (120 acres) in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is part of the borough of Amsterdam-Zuid and situated west from the Leidseplein and the Museumplein. The park was opened in 1865 and originally named the "Nieuwe Park", but later renamed to "Vondelpark", after the 17th-century playwright and poet Joost van den Vondel. Yearly, the park has around 10 million visitors. In the park is an open-air theatre, a playground and several horeca* facilities.