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Sports & Recreation

Best Public Park 

Tower Grove Park

In the words of an original park report, Tower Grove Park's thoroughfares were designed for "the costly chariot flashing with silver and polish, and also for the humble wagon with its painted sign indicating its daily use." Diverse groups are still served by the south St. Louis pleasure ground more than 100 years later. For toddlers, a lifeguard-monitored wading pool; for eccentric sporties, three corkball fields; for Anglophiles, the only public grass tennis courts in the Midwest; and for those mild-mannered, early-rising, binoculared types, the best place to see migrating beauties. We're talking birds: According to accomplished birder Paul Bauer, co-author of Birds of the St. Louis Area -- Where and When to Find Them, during the migratory fall season the park is an "urban oasis" of natural habitat for migrating birds. The park's most attractive permanent resident, however, is Jimmy Joe, an eight-year-old Clydesdale gelding. For $40 for the first half-hour and $20 for each half-hour thereafter, Joe will pull you around in either a classic surrey (both seats facing front) or a white vis-à-vis carriage (face-to-face), winter, spring, summer or fall.

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