The free tram service will be provided from 1-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through the end of September at the 53-acre Close Memorial Park, located immediately to the south of Nathanael Greene Park. The tram service will pick up from the main parking lot at the Rose Garden and make a loop around the northern edge of Lake Drummond, then east toward the Dr. Bill Roston Butterfly House. It will continue along the northern edge of Close Park near the site of the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, which will open in October 2010, and back toward the parking lot. More than 20 public gardens, planted and maintained by volunteers with Friends of the Garden, are available at the park.
The guide-by-cell phone service is the first of its kind to the department and will be offered year-round throughout the 59-acre Nathanael Greene Park and adjacent Close Memorial Park. Visitors will encounter nearly 80 points of interest throughout the parks, including gardens, the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden, the Purple Martin Bird House and Gray-Campbell Farmstead. By calling a local telephone number and dialing through prompts, a short recording provides an audio tour with details on the particular stop.
Upcoming free events at Close Park include the Bluegrass & Blossoms event on June 26 and Butterfly Festival on July 24-25.
The parks are open from dawn until dusk. The Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden is open from 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Thursday-Monday until Oct. 31. Admission to the stroll garden is $3 for adults; free for children under 12. All other park amenities, including the butterfly house, are free.