Ocala, Florida



"Let all who enter enjoy nature in the spirit of human enhancement.  Let this park be the seed that grows and flowers.  Peace is the world's goal."



The quote above the map is from the Sholom Park brochure we picked up there.  Donna and I were visiting my dad and step-mom in April 2010.  They had never been to this park, nor seen any literature about it, but they knew it was there.  When we all embarked on our little outing, no one really knew what to expect.  I thought we were going to a typical county or township park.  I think we were each impressed by what we actually discovered upon arrival. 



"As you enter Sholom Park, you may stop and read the monument in front of the pavilion dedicating the park.  The entry pavilion, of classical design, welcomes you to the park.  Inside the pavilion, you will get information about the park and its treasures; a map of the park grounds, a place to meet other friends, or perhaps a place to meet the knowledgeable docents who will show you around the property . . ." 

Like most visitors, we started at the pavilion.  The cropped photo at left is a close-up of the monument plaque.  After a few moments of wandering about the Pavilion we turned left to enter the Formal Garden Walk. 



"Adjoining the entry Pavilion, the fenced Formal Garden commands visitors’ attention and respect.  Entering through open gates, the fountain soothes your thoughts as the walkways lead you by native and ornamental plantings. Explore the rock paths through the azaleas, the fern grotto, or the open-air butterfly garden.  Relax on the many benches or the lawn as the breezes rustle through the trees." 

With all the cold in Florida (January thru March 2010) things were running a little behind, and we did not spend much time in the Formal Garden area.  The blossoming flowers of the Azalea Trail drew us rather quickly in that direction. 




"The Azalea Trail can be reached by the walkway that leads from the parking lot or through the Formal Garden. Springtime may be the best time to enjoy the colorful beauty of the more than 700 azaleas of many varieties and colors of pinks, whites, lavender, and reds that are planted along the trail.  With annuals, perennials, and a variety of ornamentals, the trail changes from season to season. The Azalea Trail also leads to one of the cornerstones of Sholom Park, the Labyrinth."


"A walkway with over twenty reflection points, the Labyrinth has only one way in and one way out.  The Labyrinth is a physical and spiritual place to invite your contemplative, meditative, imaginary, intuitive, playful, artistic, poetic, creative, and soulful being into oneness and fullness with nature.  We invite you to experience your full range of emotions in the safety of this sacred place, created over the centuries just for you." 

The park's website mentions:

"The Labyrinth was featured in a video titled The Big Guy. This amazing video is about the life of Jon Romnes.
It is truly a must-see video authored by his family."


I placed a link to the above mentioned video in the Scrapbook Photos links page.  It was very good, and worth a look. 



Because I am sharing all 24 reflection points, I have created a separate page for the Labyrinth photos. 

You can click on the picture (at right), or use the link at the bottom of this page to access the Labyrinth images page


Welcome back, if you clicked on the above photo to visit the Labyrinth. 

After leaving the Labyrinth area, we crossed over the parking lot and connected with the Prairie Trail by the pond.  If the above map is configured to standard directions, after leaving the pond, we turned south on the Prairie Trail using the widest loop to make a single trip around the park.  This took us along the Enchanted Forest Trail and ultimately back to the Gazebo, although we did leave the trail at one point to take a look at some cattle across the fence. 




"Although it is man-made, Sholom Park Pond appears to have been in existence since the beginning of time.  Three-quarters of an acre in size, these beautiful tranquil waters are home to soft rush, water cannas, hardy water lilies and cyperious plants which grace the banks of the pond.  The pond walkway winds along the gentle slope of the bank which is dotted with day lilies, grasses, perennials, blooming groundcover, shrubs and trees.  The deck overlook is a wonderful place to sit, read, meditate, or just watch the Koi swim by." 

"Sholom Park is not just a place . . . it is an experience of the senses."

The text in the (above left) picture was clearer in a different image, but I liked this photo better.  The final lines read: "Quote the rock, rather meek and shy, 'Yes, you have traveled and starved to see and, I just lie here quietly, for I have time.  The world will eventually come to me.'" 

"The generous size of Sholom Park is most noticeable in the 16-acre open space of the Prairie.  The Prairie Trail winds along the outer perimeter of the prairie.  Watch the fox squirrels scurry and play, or listen as the hawk soars overhead.  Move at your own pace.  Adjacent to the Prairie Trail are three other areas to enjoy: the Pergebo Trail, the Enchanted Forest, and the Pond walk." 


"The Pergebo Trail is a Xeriscaped wonderland of ornamental grasses, perennials, and blooming shrubs bisecting the Prairie Trail.  Along this walk you will come to the “Pergebo”, a combination of a pergola and a gazebo.  This structure is comprised of eight stone covered columns with aluminum and wire framework, and wisteria vines are being encouraged to grow up and over the meditative structure, which is aligned so each column is an exact compass direction from the center of the structure.  This learning area, or “Classroom Number One” of the Horticultural Arts and Park Institute, Inc. that Sidney Colen has envisioned, is one of the Foundation’s goals for the Park, allowing seating for an intimate group to study and to learn." 


"The Enchanted Forest is a short walk through a native hammock of mostly hardwood trees, young to medium in maturity.  In the heat of the day, temperatures are ten degrees cooler here compared to the open areas.  Mother nature continually prunes the trees as they reach their branches toward the sun." 


Returning to the Pavilion pretty much wraps thing up.  "One of the popular places for a small group to gather is the Stage and Lawn area adjoining the Pavilion.  The amphitheater setting calls out for petite events like poetry readings, storytelling, lectures, and small musical fetes. Sit on a blanket and share the pleasure of these events." 


All of the quoted text is from brochures and flyers we picked up, pictures I took, or courtesy of the Sholom Park (HAPI) website.  The Horticultural Arts and Park Institute, Inc. (HAPI) is the non-profit (IRS 501c3) organization which oversees and supports the park.  As always, a link is provided to their site in my links pages (see Sholom Park in Scrapbook Photos links). 


If you are ever in this area of Florida, I highly recommend a visit to Sholom Park.  Be sure to give yourself enough time for the Labyrinth Path.  And, one more plus, like everything genuinely spiritual in nature, it is offered free.



Scrapbook Photos Index


Labyrinth Path Page


Scrapbook Photos Links