Oz Park, Open Space Honoring The Wizard of Oz Author

Oz Park, Open Space Honoring The Wizard of Oz Author

Oz Park is a designated public area in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, United States, that spans approximately 13.32-acre and walking/biking trail with 0.61 miles long.

Situated at the intersection of Lincoln and Webster, just south of the Lincoln, Halsted, and Fullerton intersection, this open space offers easy accessibility at its location on 2021 North Burling Street.

Open from 6 AM to 11 PM, Oz Park, situated near Lincoln Park High School, also welcomes pets.

Moreover, its expansive green spaces, paths, and gardens contribute to a serene atmosphere distinct from the cityscape.

This park’s vast area features Dorothy’s Playlot, Emerald City Gardens, and bronze statues of the main characters from The Wizard of Oz.

In 1976, this park is officially opened, honoring L. Frank Baum, who lived much of his life in Chicago.

The park was created to celebrate Baum’s literary contributions and his connection to the city.

Furthermore, the name “Oz” pays homage to the fantastical world of Oz, made famous in Baum’s iconic book series.

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Dorothy’s Playlot

One of the park’s highlights is Dorothy’s Playlot, a vibrant and colorful playground that captures the essence of Oz.

Additionally, children can frolic on unique play structures inspired by characters like the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion.

The playful design of the playground immerses young visitors in the magical realm of Oz, fostering creativity and imagination.

Emerald City Gardens

As visitors meander through this garden, they encounter the meticulously maintained Emerald City Gardens.

Named after the dazzling capital of Oz, these gardens feature lush greenery, vibrant flowers, and winding paths.

The serene atmosphere invites park-goers to take a leisurely stroll and appreciate the beauty of nature within this urban oasis.

Statues of Oz Characters

Oz Park captivates with larger-than-life bronze statues, portraying beloved characters from Baum’s books.

Dorothy and her loyal companions—Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion—are immortalized in these impressive sculptures.

Transitioning to the Tin Man sculpture, installed in October 1995, it stands at the park’s northeast corner. Crafted from old automobile parts, this sculpture represents Kearney’s distinctive artistic medium.

The Cowardly Lion statue, integrated into this park in June 2001. The statue stands in the southeast corner near the crossroads of Larrabee and Dickens. Unlike the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion was crafted from bronze, poured into wax casts.

In June 2005, the Scarecrow statue joined the ensemble, standing near the Tin Man in Emerald City Gardens. This statue was created using the bronze casting technique.

May 2007 witnessed the addition of the statue featuring Dorothy and Toto. This bronze statue, on the west side near “Dorothy’s Playlot,” shares the process used for the Lion and Scarecrow statues.

Ultimately, these statues serve as interactive art pieces, allowing visitors to pose for photos with these iconic figures.

The Wizard of Oz-themed Events

This playground regularly hosts events and activities that celebrate the magic of Baum’s literary world.

These events include outdoor movie nights featuring “The Wizard of Oz,” themed festivals, and book readings.

Furthermore, the annual family-friendly event serves as a platform for the community, fostering unity and sharing the joy of storytelling.

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The Evolution of Oz Park

In the 1950s, the vicinity surrounding what is now known as Oz Park required improvement.

Consequently, the City of Chicago granted permission to the Lincoln Park Conservation Association for community enhancement in the 1960s.

In 1974, the Chicago Park District acquired the land, marking the initiation of park construction.

Interestingly, Lyman Frank Baum, a children’s author and the mind behind The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, resided in Chicago’s Humboldt Park during the 1890s.

Subsequently, the Oz Park Advisory Council successfully raised funds to install sculptures, including the Tin Man and Cowardly Lion, crafted by sculptor John Kearney.