Hefei's nicest park, Bao He Gongyuan in the center of town, has an arched bridge over a placid lake, whispering willows on the shores, and schools of fish in lily ponds, all making for some pleasant strolls. Entrance is free and the park is open 24 hours. The park is also home to Bao Gong Muyuan (Lord Bao's Tomb) at Wu Hu Lu 58. It commemorates one of China's most respected iconic figures, local son Bao Zheng (999-1062), a conscientious and impartial Northern Song dynasty judge who fought for the common folk. Admission to the tomb is ¥50, open daily 8am to 6pm.
For an eclectic range of activities, head to Xiaoyaojin Gongyuan. It features a peaceful lake where the elderly practice tai chi, but also offers a range of tacky roller-coaster-type rides for kids, a petting zoo, a circus, paintball, and best of all, crocodile wrestling. Admission is free and the cost of individual activities ranges from ¥3 to ¥30; the park is open from 8am to 5:30pm.
North of the Xiaoyaojin Gongyuan along the pedestrian street Shangye Buxing Jie is Li Hongzhang Guju, Huaihe Lu 208 (tel. 0551/261-6772; ¥20; 8:30am-6pm), the former residence of Li Hongzhang (1823-1901), a highly successful Qing dynasty military commander who is perhaps best known as one of the chief architects of the destruction of the Taipings. His residence has been well preserved, complete with beautiful lattice windows and Qing dynasty furniture.
The Anhui Sheng Bowuguan (Anhui Provincial Museum), at Anqing Lu 268 (¥10; Tues-Sun 8:30-11:30am and 2:30-5pm), is a rather forlorn place. It has a modest bronze collection, some Han tomb engravings, and a fairly comprehensive display on the Huizhou-style architecture of southern Anhui. The museum closes early if there are no visitors, which is often. There's a decent flower and bird market outside of the museum.
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