There are many wonderful places in Key West where you can easily spend a day picnicking or laying on the beach. We talked about popular public parks such as Fort Zachary Taylor, Bahia Honda or Dry Toprtugas on multiple occasions. And in today’s blog we want to introduce you to small neighborhood parks that are tucked into out of the way places, even us locals know about them. But it does not mean they are less important to the city’s diverse cultural landscape of the community that surrounds them. The website for the city of Key West lists about ten small neighborhood parks scattered around the island, also known as ‘Pocket Parks’. Each of them is different in size, landscape or public knowledge about them, but all share common goals to improve the quality of life in our community and protect our natural and historic resources for future generations. Visit City of Key West home page at www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov to view them all. We’ve selected few parks for you based on their location throughout the island.
Cozumel Park is a neighborhood playground area for the local kids in the area. There is also an area for picnics and family gatherings. Directions to get to the park is by going down Northside Drive to Donald Avenue and then make a right turn onto 19th Terrace.
Nature trails through native habitats. Meander over boardwalks and mulched trails through mangrove, transitional, and hardwood hammock communities. See flora and fauna indigenous and endemic to Key West. Bring your binoculars and sunscreen.
The city of Key West has had a program of converting small plots of land around the town into places of rest and recreation and against the odds it seems to work quite well. Gato Village Park is a good example of such efforts. This park has a special history as it was part of a unique community of employee housing built by Eduardo Gato in the 1880’s. Gato Village consisted of 40 cigar makers’ cottages that were built around the Gato Cigar Factory on Simonton Street. Key West was at the highpoint of its cigar manufacturing and there was a shortage of both skilled cigar makers and housing. The park is also home of the World’s largest cigar sculpture.
The park is on a very small former house lot converted for public use. It’s a fantastic place to stop with shaded seating areas for you to cool off from the hot Key West sun beating upon your head & shoulders. Being exactly across from the cemetery it’s an ideal stop for those leaving the self-guided cemetery tour or those just so happen to be in the area. A nice quiet place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Key West’s Duval Street.