Some cities set aside some green space, add a bench or two, and call it a park, but that’s not how it works in Roanoke. The city’s parks are more like outdoor playgrounds for kids and adults, with so much to do you can easily spend the entire day at one. And while all the parks are a cut above the rest, Mill Mountain Park might sit at the top. It has the green spaces you expect and extras that most cities could only dream of adding. In fact, the park has so many cool features you might have missed some the last time you visited. Thus, check out a few things that you’ll want to make sure to see and do during your next trip over.
See the Roanoke Star in Red, White, and Blue
The Roanoke Star is a big tourist attraction, but you’ve probably seen it so many times that you plan to skip it this time around. While normally fine, Memorial Day is coming up, meaning it’s almost time for the star to change colors. It only happens four times a year, so you don’t have a lot of opportunities to catch it.
It shines a bright white most of the year, but it’ll illuminate red, white, and blue on Memorial Day. No matter how many times you’ve seen the star, this is worth a trip. And because it’s a special event, you can expect a big crowd of people who want to come together to celebrate the men and women who lost their lives defending the country.
Bike up Mill Mountain
If you’re feeling adventurous, bring your bike to the park and ride up the mountain. You can ascend the mountain via the Woodthrush or Monument trails, and both have plenty of sights and gorgeous views. You’ll also get to check out the Discovery Center after reaching the top. The wildflower garden is stunning, and you can see some live creatures up close.
If you’re an expert on the trails and up for a big challenge, take the Understory trail down. The rock features are hard to navigate, but the sweeping valley views make it worth working up a sweat.
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Catch a Sunset
While this isn’t one of the park’s advertised activities, it’s so breathtaking that the city might want to add it to its website. When the sun’s close to setting, head to the Star Overlook. You’ll have a bird’s eye view of the sunset, and the twinkling downtown lights somehow make it more magical. It’s so magical that you’ll want to sit and relax for a bit to process everything.
While these activities aren’t as well known as the Mill Mountain Zoo or hiking trails, they’re just as thrilling. Thus, head over to Mill Mountain Park and check out these often-missed activities.
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