Sofyivka Park - a surprisingly nice place
For those of you who are mobile we have a suggestion for a one day trip you can manage at any weekend. Sofyivka Park is a perfect place for a family or solitary walk and rest, to relax and enjoy a sunny day.
Soyivka Park is located in Uman, a town 200 kilometeres south from Kiev. Uman is on the way to Odessa meaning you can drive easily straight from Kiev following the Odessa signs and it would be hard to get lost. Perhaps you will want to make it there in a good time (like us) so beware - there are often police controls on this road (yes, it is still possible to bribe your way out).
When you exit the highway and turn to Uman, you should come out at a crossing with a TNK gas station. Take a right turn there up the hill, at the second traffic light turn right again and continue straight, roll down a steep hill and you will get directly to the gate of the park. There is enough space around to leave your car safely. There are, surprisingly, signs pointing to the park as well and the locals all know how to get there.
The park was founded by a wealthy Polish man, Stanislaw Schensnyi Potockyi, in 1796. It was a gift for his wife Sophia and it was presented to her on her birthday in 1802. The park was later renamed, given to a horticulture school, got its original name back and in 1984, a small planet was even named Sofyivka in honour of the park. In 1996 the park celebrated the 200th anniversary since its foundation. In 2004, Sofyivka received the status of National Dendrological Park by the Ukrainian president.
The entry fee is 6 UAH per person. You can buy small maps, books or brochures about Sofyivka as well as various souveniers. There are numerous stands and kiosks with refreshments to keep you going and several attractions to entertain you. You can take a ride in a horse carriage, skip the carriage and just go horse riding, rent a katamaran, go on a boat or gondola on a small lake or take a boat through a tunnel connecting the lake with other water channels in the park.