Located just a thirty-minute drive from the Norman Manley International Airport, in the heart of New Kingston, Emancipation Park is one of Jamaica’s true historic gems. The theme of Tribute to Freedom is powerfully carried throughout each section of the park and takes a physical form in the 3-meter tall bronze sculpture aptly named Redemption Song.
Redemption Song is conspicuously located at the entrance to Emancipation Park and depicts nudes of a black man and woman looking up into the sky, symbolizing emancipation for slavery and the victorious rise above it.
Nature lovers and art enthusiasts alike can enjoy this renowned park. There are tropical flowers and indigenous plants throughout, offering refreshing color splashes. From red geraniums to pink roses to yellow lantana, the contrasting colors offset each other with delightful balance. You can spend the afternoon in the gardens in the shade provided by the Jamaican national Lignum Vitae trees and bougainvillea, or take an early morning run as the sun rises on the horizon.
If you are an art enthusiast, you will be able to appreciate not only the Redemption Song sculpture, which was created by the celebrated Jamaican artist, Laura Facey. There are also find more statues around the park known as Adinkras, which are West African symbols that are interwoven in the roots of Jamaican history. As you walk the paths, keep an eye out for the statue of the two-headed crocodile, a symbolic fence, and a Wafa tree.
As you make your way the center of Emancipation Park, you will easily notice the sprawling stage, which is unobtrusive despite its size. Featuring modern facilities to host live entertainment, this stage is a favorite for musical performances, such as Jamaica’s best local music artists on Emancipation night. You can also enjoy a water show at the main fountain located in front of the stage.
On either side of the stage, you will find the built in ping pong and chess tables. Take a picnic lunch along on your visit, and enjoy cooling off under the royal palm trees. Many locals enjoy spending time in this famous Jamaican landmark and will be happy to challenge you to a lively game of chess. There are also various yoga and aerobics classes in the mornings and evenings on the lush manicured lawns.
There is a running path around the perimeter of the park, where you can work up a sweat while being cooled by the tropical breeze and shade from the trees. The park is dotted with benches and other seating areas throughout, and the atmosphere of the park is laid-back and welcoming.
If you plan on spending the morning or afternoon at Emancipation Park, don’t forget to wear comfortable walking shoes, and bring plenty of water and beverages, a picnic basket to enjoy under the trees, and a camera.