So you have a boring Saturday and can’t quite figure out what to do with it. Why not grab a couple of friends (or enemies as the case may be), and head to Freedom Park on Broad Street? Great part is you get to relax on prison grounds and walk out whenever you like. I should say here that it used to be a former prison and is now a leisure park, so you can all relax now.
You can go and chase chickens around.
Chased it till it ducked under the bench.
Or how about listening to jokes from our forefathers.
L-R Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Chief Obafemi Awolowo
If you’re weird like me and you’ve wondered about what a tiny jail cell is like, come and take a look (prison break makes them look nice). A lot of important people were jailed here eg Herbert Macaulay and Obafemi Awolowo. The size made me grateful for my freedom. Imagine that being the only space you’re allowed to call your own. I shuddered at the thought. Stay out of trouble people, crime definitely does not pay. Except you’re jailed wrongfully then ignore that.
Maybe you don’t care about all that, you’re just looking for a nice place to toast someone, or sit around and do nothing while enjoying sculptures strategically placed everywhere.
Whatever your reason may be, freedom park is a place you have to go to when you’re in Lagos. I enjoyed every minute of the peace and quiet. (kind of ironic seeing as its in the center of the busy Lagos hub).
It isn’t too big, so no complaints about getting tired while walking around. A little exercise never hurt anybody though. And if you do get tired, there are benches everywhere and a food court to help you out. Another great thing is in different spots, you see signs showing you what used to be there.
A museum complex and Wole Soyinka’s gallery can also be found there, but that day screenings were taking place in the buildings, so art works had been taken out. Unlucky for me, but maybe you’ll be lucky on your visit.
So let me tell you why freedom park is historic/important and often referred to as a cultural, arts and heritage site
1. It used to be Her Majesty’s old colonial prison, and was reconstructed to what it is now by Lagos born architect Theo Lane.
2. It was created to mark our 50th Independence on the 1st of October, 2010.
3. It was also created to pay homage to our forefathers who helped in our struggle for independence.
4. What was once a symbol of oppression was turned into a place of peace and hope.
5. Film screenings, black heritage festivals, music concerts, shows and art exhibitions also hold here. In fact it staged the award winning Thobias de ValVal Samba Group; a lively performance of music and dance that celebrated the cultural ties between Lagos and Brazil.
6. It was the venue for the ‘Lagos Live Festival‘ which celebrated 50 years of The German Cultural Center, Goethe Institute in Nigeria.
If you ever thought there were no parks in Nigeria or you just fancy not staying at home, take it from me and from our previous horse, this is definitely one place to check out. I enjoyed being there and I’m pretty sure you would to. History, culture, fun & arts all rolled into one. I hear Afrocentric cool kids also hang out here, I guess this makes me one. :).
Before you go, you should know
i. Entry is N200 per person (About a dollar and less than a pound/Euro)
ii. Parking is available, but limited.
iii. No smoking is allowed
iv. No food or drinks allowed either, so if you’re hungry check out the kiosks.
v. No guns/arms are welcome except you fancy trying out a real jail cell.
vi. To host events, bookings can be done here.
vii. Opened from 11 am – 11pm
viii. The food court has food for all kinds – vegans, vegetarians etc
ix. Souvenirs are available.
Do let us know what you think in the comment section.
Address – Hospital Road,
Old Prison Ground Broad Street,
Lagos Island Lagos, Nigeria
Tel – 018428440, 08095006567
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
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