Sokolniki Park is not far from the center of the city, near Sokolnicheskaya Gate. The park gained its name from the Sokolnichya Quarter, the 17th century home of the sovereign's falconers (sokol is the Russian word for falcon). It was created by Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich (father of Peter the Great), a keen hunter who loved to go falconing in the area.
The park's current layout of clearings and alleys began under Peter. In 1900 a "labyrinth", or network of alleys, was laid out. The park has been open to the public since 1878, and from 1931 onwards Sokolniki has been being developed as an official "park of culture and leisure".
Today Sokolniki is a typical Russian park, with an ageing funfair and other amusements for children, and numerous fast food stalls all clustered near the main entrance. In summer the central alleyways are a mass of brightly colored formal flowerbeds, while the depths of the park are a wilderness home to pines and spruces, birches and oaks, limes and maples - all trees native to the Moscow region - as well as a number of non-indigenous trees, such as larches, cedars, walnut, red oaks, etc. The park's wildlife includes hares, squirrels and weasels, as well as 76 types of bird.
Getting there:Sokolniki Park is located next to Sokolniki metro station.