In the center of the sprawling Ocala park, a plaque on a roughly chiseled granite slab reads:
THIS PARK HONORS THE NAME OF MY GRANDFATHER SHOLOM WHICH IS ALSO THE HEBREW WORD FOR PEACE IT IS USED IN GREETING AND UPON DEPARTURE “PEACE BE TO YOU
IT IS POSSIBLE TO EXPERIENCE INSIGHT AND INSPIRATION HERE FOR A FEW IT WILL LAST MANY WILL NEED TO RETURN
While taking a hike in a park or preserve, it is typical to read about the plant or wildlife that can be seen in the area on a plaque or display- usually it’s dry and not all that thought provoking. You don’t usually see many people gathered around the sign taking note of its lesson.
Sholom Park uses informational plaques in a refreshing way. Instead of the scientific explanation, plaques throughout their garden labyrinth share an inspirational quote or idea which heightens the appreciation of the surrounding nature.
Sholom Park and the serenity it imparts on its visitors is the vision of Sidney Colen. Colen was a prominent developer who moved to St. Petersburg, from Toledo, Ohio in 1947. He is well known for the “Top of the World” communities in Clearwater and Ocala. Colen passed away in 2009 at age 90.
Horticulturist Steve Curl oversaw the final design and park construction in 2001 and in October of 2004, Sholom Park began enlightening visitors.
There are eleven unique areas within the park, including an enchanted forest, an azalea trail, a garden labyrinth complete with a trickling brook and a pergebo trail. The plantings are varied and include Florida natives, cultivated ornamentals, perennials and annuals. The park provides open spaces for children to run or small intimate sitting areas for a quiet conversation.
Art and music festivals are frequently held at the park. The next “Fun at the Park” event featuring an afternoon of jazz and stringed instruments and original displays by local artisans will be held on May 6th, 2018 1 – 4PM.
They offer free seminars through the L.E.A.F. series – which stands for Learn Explore Appreciate Focus.
The next seminar on April 20 will be given by Dr. Kristy Hollingshead Seitz entitled The Importance of Social Engagement. Seitz is a computational linguist, researching the utility of everyday language as a signal of mental and neurological health.
Sholom Park is a 60 plus minute drive from Hernando County, depending on your location. I recommend taking a route that does not include I-75. Country back roads can get you there and it’s much more pleasant. If you’re traveling from Brooksville, S. Pleasant Grove Road to FL-200 is the way to go.
Sholom Park Location
7110 SW 80th Avenue | Ocala, FL | 34481
Park Hours: 8AM – 7PM
Open 7 Days a Week | Free admission.