Built in 1925 and formerly named Railway Park, Children’s Park of Harbin is the only professional park in the city that serves children. On June 1, 1956, with the formal opening of China’s first children’s railway and train (Young Pioneers) that are totally under children’s own management, the park was officially named Children’s Park of Harbin.
The park was classified as a provincial A-class park in 1993, used as the moral education base for the primary and middle school students in the city and the community educational center in 1997, and awarded the title of Provincial Civilized Unit. The famous children’s railway runs around the park with a total length of 2 kilometers.
It is equipped with two stations – Harbin Station and Beijing Station, an internal-combustion engine, a pseudo-classic style locomotive and 6 soft-seat carriages with a seating capacity of 192 passengers.
The Children’s Park is of long and narrow zonary pattern, in which the only inland river in Harbin, Majiagou River, murmurs through the park. Gogol Street, located in front of the park, is a newly remodeled Russian-Style Street for sightseeing, permeated with thick exoticism and filled with lots of European-style buildings.
Thus, the Children’s Park, in the center of the street, is attracting more and more attention. The park is a fairyland of glorious flowers and sweet odors in summer, breeze in autumn and snow in winter. The park has become an ideal place for children to enjoy themselves and relax.
The park covers a total area of 17 hectares with 21 recreational facilities, such as children’s train, bumper car, flume ride and the like. The children’s railway and train are unique in Harbin City, and the conductor, the driver and the station master are all primary students in Harbin. The railway around the park with a total length of 2 kilometers is served by two stations: Harbin Station and Beijing Station. It takes 12 minutes for a round trip.
In winter, the park is decorated with beautiful ice sculptures and has opened a skiing resort for children with an area of 200,000 square meters (49 acres), whose main ski trail is 200 meters long and 15 meters high, providing a winter wonderland for children.
Festivals and Activities
The annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Children’s Park
The annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, which is held from December to January of the following year, is the first regional festival with the theme of ice and snow in China. Every year, during the festival, there will be large-scale winter swimming competitions with spectacular sights. Tourists there can not only enjoy the beautiful scene of ice lanterns and snow sculptures, but also take part in many winter entertainment activities.
The art of ice lanterns and snow sculptures in Harbin is one of the wonders in the world of ice and snow art.
Harbin Summer Concert
As a state-level concert, Harbin Summer Concert is held every two years from August 6th to 15th of the Chinese lunar calendar, lasting for 10 days. Harbin Summer Music Concert has become one of the three large concerts in China with artists coming from all over the world.
Roll-on-Ice Festival is a local folk custom with a very long history. In the evening of the Ice Lantern Exhibition (the 15th day of the first lunar month), people light the candles and place them into different patterns on the river, at the same time, all the people, old and young, all come to roll about and play on the frozen river.
It is said that worries and misfortunes can roll away, while fortune and happiness roll in by doing like this. This old custom stems from an ancient legend. Once upon a time, the daughter of Monoclonius who is the God of Songhua River fell in love with a young fisherman. They got married and lived a happy and peaceful life. When Monoclonius knew about the news, he was very mad.
As a result, on the first day of the traditional Chinese calendar, Monoclonius ripped open the river and took back his daughter. Besides, he wanted to punish the young man and the villagers with plague. His daughter informed her husband of it in his dream, telling him to roll about on the ice on the evening of January 15th of the first lunar month.
By rolling nine times to the left and another nine times to the right, they can avoid the plague. So on the evening of the Lantern Festival, the fisherman and all the villagers went rolling about onto the frozen surface of the river and they did avoid the plague. In order to avoid the Monoclonius’ revenge, the villagers do this every year on that evening, which gradually becomes a unique custom till present days.
Folk Ice Lantern Festival
Folk Ice Lantern Festival is held during the Spring Festival and the Lantern Festival when every household l puts their home-made ice lanterns in their own yards. With the scale of the entertainment activities enlarging gradually, people begin to hold various competitions of making ice lanterns on the square and other entertainment places in the village, adding much festive atmosphere to the village.