Outdoor Recreation for Kids and Adults

Flower City Feeling Good Series

Get Moving with Flower City Feeling Good! - This annual series offers many opportunities to get fit and be fascinated around Rochester's neighborhoods and natural areas.

For nearly three decades, the Flower City Looking Good Series has connected City residents with the beauty of the Rochester’s natural environment. The series provides community members with an abundance of opportunities to get out, get active and get excited about the City of Rochester.  The series will kick off June 2021 with community bike rides & guided walks, monthly community paddles, seasonal garden workshops, monthly park stewardship events and more.

Explore nature and the city’s amazing historic parks and neighborhoods by bike, on foot or in canoes by participating in Tuesday night bike rides, Thursday night nature and history walks, monthly guided paddles and Zumba and Yoga in the park! Walks and rides are leisurely with slight grade changes, mostly on paths or sidewalks. 

Guided Nature and History Walks

Thursday Evening Walks will highlight the historical and natural wonders of the City of Rochester. Dates for 2023 TBD.  Below are some of the walks that we have highlighted in previous years.

Highland Park.  Join us for a tour of Highland Park - the first Olmsted designed park in Rochester.  The tour will highlight the unique and historic trees that make the park such a horticultural gem. Meet outside of the Lamberton Conservatory.

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Corn Hill. Join us to hear about some of our city’s most colorful and historic people, places and events. Tour begins by the Water Spirits sculpture at Corn Hill Landing where South Plymouth Avenue joins Exchange Street. Bring water and wear good walking shoes.  

Washington Grove. Join members of the Friends of Washington Grove to walk through the canopy of 250-year-old Oak trees and find out about Washington Grove’s natural and cultural history, its many changes and what the future may hold. Meet at the kiosk atop Cobbs Hill Reservoir in the open field behind the pine grove (take the reservoir road off of Highland Ave.).

Downtown Heritage Trail. Join us for a walking tour of the Downtown Heritage Trail. Explore Rochester’s past through its buildings and landmarks. Meet at the north side of the Rundel Memorial Building, at the corner of Broad Street and South Avenue. This outdoor path is approximately one mile round-trip and will take about an hour to complete. Please dress comfortably. Earth explor 23

Seneca Park. Join us on a tour of the Olmsted designed Seneca Park. Explore this unique 297 acre park designed by the ‘father of landscape architecture’ Frederick Law Olmsted- and enjoy woodland trails, wildlife along Trout Lake, and scenic views of the Genesee River Gorge.  Meet at the Wegmans Lodge parking lot along the park road in Seneca Park

El Camino Trail.  Join the Genesee Land Trust on a walk of El Camino, a 2.2 mile urban, multi-use trail .The Thomas R. Frey Trail at El Camino, a rails to trail project opened in 2012, is most notably known for its unique murals and trail markers that reflect the cultural history of the area.  Meet at Conkey Corner Park- at the corner of Conkey and Clifford Avenue.

Play street Downtown. Join us to experience Rochester’s first interactive Play Walk.  Meet at Martin Luther King Jr. Park- at the corner of Chestnut Street & Court Street.

Lower Falls Gorge.  Join Gorge Guides on a tour of both the upper and lower falls, and learn about the history of the forgotten sites of Carthage and McCrackenville. Meet at the Maplewood Rose Garden parking lot at the corner of Lake and Driving Park.

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Guided Bicycle Rides

Explore the city’s natural and built environments –including public art, downtown infrastructure, Roc the Riverway projects, community gardens, and more. Cancellations due to weather will be made at start time on the site of the ride. All rides start promptly at 6:00p.m., please arrive by 5:45 p.m. for ride safety tips. Helmets are REQUIRED for all participants. 

2021 DATES TBD. Below are a list of rides we have organized in previous years.

Mural Arts Ride. Join us for a tour of some of Rochester’s most impressive public murals.

Discover Downtown Ride. Join us for a tour highlighting construction projects that are reviving Rochester’s downtown as a place to live, work and play

August: North Genesee River Ride? Starting from MNC.  

Urban Garden Ride. Join us on a tour of some of Rochester’s most colorful and creative urban growing spaces and tour some of Rochester’s most beautiful and abundant urban gardens.

Roc the Riverway Ride. Join us for a tour highlighting the Genesee River and several Roc the Riverway projects in various stages of development.

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Guided Paddle Tours

The Genesee Waterways Center (GWC) is the City of Rochester’s partner for adult and youth programming in many things related to our area’s beautiful water resources. This summer, join (bring) your family and friends to experience an afternoon/evening of paddling on the beautiful Genesee River, Erie Canal and on Red Creek. For more information: www.geneseewaterways.org.

Canoes will be provided by the Genesee Waterways Center.  Maximum two adults per canoe.  All children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.  To register, visit the Genesee Waterways Center (GWC) website at www.geneseewaterways.org/events.

  • Introduction to Canoeing/Kayaking: Meet at Corn Hill Landing for a FREE paddling lesson. Date and Time TBD.

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  • Paddle on the Erie Canal: Meet at the Lock 32 parking lot and drop off at the Genesee Waterways Center. Date and time TBD.
  • Paddle on the Genesee from Seth Green: Meet at Petten St. and drop off at Seth Green Island. Date and time TBD. 
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 Zumba in the Parks

The City of Rochester boasts an array of beautiful parks and green spaces.  This summer, the City of Rochester has partnered with the Maplewood Family YMCA to offer family friendly Zumba classes in the beautiful Maplewood Rose Garden.  All classes are FREE and open to all abilities.  Exercise sessions start at 6 p.m.

Zumba @ Maplewood Rose Garden. Meet in the Rose Garden parking lot at Lake Avenue and Driving Park Avenue. Dates TBD.

Roc City Sailing Program

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On the water, running with the wind – learning to sail is great fun! Launched in the spring of 2021, The City of Rochester has partnered with ROC City Sailing (RCS) to provide sailing classes to City of Rochester youth through the City’s Earth Explorers program and our ArtSmart summer camps.

We will be hosting a Sailing Q&A event at the Rochester Canoe Club (RCC) in the spring, where kids and families can see live sailing demonstrations, learn some sailing basics and find out more about our week-long learn to sail classes and half day adventure sails at RCC’s gorgeous facility on Irondequoit Bay.

Our week-long sailing program will teach kids as young as 8 years old everything they need to know to be confident beginner sailors! Graduates of the beginner level sailing program can continue to advance their skills by taking an Intermediate level sailing course. More details can be found on-line at click here

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Our week long sailing program will teach kids as young as 7 years old everything they need to know to be confident beginner sailors! The program will culminate in a Celebration Bonfire and BBQ open to participants and their family members. Graduates of the program will have the opportunity to continue learning to sail with us by joining our Sailing 2.0 extension program. Details coming soon.           

Maplewood Rose Festival

Celebrate the Rose, Celebrate a Neighborhood. 2021 DATE TBD.

Roses in bloom and a full program of activities await visitors to the annual Maplewood Rose Celebration held each June in and around Maplewood Park and Rose Garden.  The event, coordinated by the Maplewood Neighborhood Association, features family entertainment, food, and much more.

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The Maplewood Rose Festival continues with a cornucopia of activities that celebrate Rochester's history, ecology, people, and illustrious horticultural heritage.

In particular this festival is an illumination and celebration of the Maplewood Neighborhood. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this Northwest Rochester neighborhood boasts hundreds of elegant century-old homes as well as parks and gardens designed by the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted, known as America's greatest landscape architect. This dazzling “built environment,” when combined with the natural majesty of the river and gorge, make for a truly unique urban neighborhood.

The Maplewood Neighborhood Association’s remarkable volunteers have partnered with the City to showcase its fantastic history, architecture, natural features, parks, and people. 

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Transportation, Traffic, and Parking Information

Handicapped parking only in Maplewood Park lot (Driving Park Avenue). Other parking available on adjoining streets and in the Hawk Eye parking lot at the corner of St. Paul Boulevard and Avenue E, directly across the Driving Park Bridge from Maplewood Park (shuttle provided). The Rochester Genesee Regional Transit Authority offers bus service to several stops within a short walk of Maplewood Park—for more information on these routes and schedules, go to www.myrts.com or call 288-1700. Bike enthusiasts can avoid traffic and parking challenges by riding to the event along the wonderful Genesee Riverway Trail .

You can also take a bus to the festivities: Use the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority's Google Trip Planner to get a bus to Maplewood Park 


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Roc the Riverway Weekend

The Genesee River is the lifeblood of the Greater Rochester Region. From the abundant farms of the Genesee Valley to the industrial heritage of the City, the Genesee River has defined who we are and how our community developed.

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In 2018 the City along with our partners at the State of New York, launched an ambitious $500 million initiative to truly release the full potential of our river. The Roc the River Way riverfront revitalization program is a series of projects that celebrate the past and build for the future. They will transform this former industrial waterway into a community recreational corridor that provides opportunities for all to interact with water.

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Celebrate this transformation with us! Come out, explore the river and learn more about our community’s vision for the future.

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Department of Recreation & Human Services
Stephanie Benway, Environmental Education Specialist