In these pandemic times, where movement between provinces is prohibited, local outdoor recreation areas have become increasingly important features. The Miguel Ángel Blanco de San Roque Park is a magnificent example of different and safe leisure alternative for children and adults.
Closures and restrictions have changed our lives and the way that we are able to enjoy our leisure time in Spain.
Just over a year ago, there was no reason to think that a reaction to a virus would force people into confinement for months on end; changing the way we interact with each other and live our lives in a world totally transformed.
In light of this, proposals for different ways to enjoy outdoor areas in a “safe” manner have been gaining traction. A magnificent example of this is the Miguel Ángel Blanco de San Roque Park which opened to the public on February 28 last year, just before restrictions turned people’s lives upside down.
Nestled within Huerta Valera, behind the San Roque Town Hall building, this park spans 3,000 square metres and is one of 25 within the expansive municipality of San Roque.
It is an enclosure conceived with safety and novelty in mind for both young and old, although with a special focus on children.
Within the park there are large sculptures of wild animals and a highly original children’s play area which even includes interactive electronic games.
The park is split into two sections. The upper region, which is the largest of the two, is a theme park filled with wild fauna and grassy meadows which are linked by concrete pathways.
You will discover 16 fibreglass figures of different animals featuring a tiger, elephant, gorilla, hippo, rhino, giraffe, a bear and a penguin as well as ornamental trees.
Exploring the Lower Section
In the lower area, you will find a play area with a pergola painted like a Rubik’s cube surrounded by trees, a drinking fountain and places to sit down.
To the right-hand side, games such as hopscotch, long jump and twister are painted on the floor. There is also a “pump track”, which is a pathway with dips and rises for bicycles, scooters and even just for running and jumping on. In addition, there is a 16 square metre chess board with large chess pieces.
On the left-hand side, you will find a platform in the shape of a dog’s footprint with rubber pads representing the animal’s paw pads which children can jump from one side to the other on.
Finally, one of the most novel additions to the park is an interactive electronic game with a central pole surrounded by six other poles.
It is a six-player game with of five rounds consisting of math, ABC’s, colours, identification, memory and running respectively.
The park has of course not been used very much and is still not known in Gibraltar.
It had only been opened for under a month when restrictions forced the park to closed on March 13 – and it was not reopened until last September, but with covid safety measures which prevent people from touching the animal sculptures.
There are the usual hand sanitiser stations at the entrance and the park is regularly “disinfected” by the municipal services.
The name of the park has been dedicated to Ermua (Vizcaya) who was assassinated by members of the ETA terrorist organisation in 1997, a murder which marked the beginning of the end for the group.
The Municipal Corporation of San Roque approved that this should be a public place dedicated to Miguel Ángelo Blanco to play tribute to him.
Within the area 139 species of birds and 21 mammals were registered in 2020. You will also find 240 different varieties of moths…