Beijing Olympic Forest Park was built for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. It was the leisure site for athletes, coaches, and official staff to get relaxed from tense competitions. The tennis, shooting, and hockey competitions were held there. After the closing ceremony, it has been transformed to the city's back garden for sightseeing, recreation and sports. As the largest urban green landscape in Asia and the largest park in Beijing, one can stroll along the pavement or jog among the greenery to breathe in the fresh air; lovers can have a sweet date by riding a tandem bicycle through grassland and flowers or take a boat on the clear lake to see flocks of koi. The Park is a good place for families to spend the weekends; with the help of battery cars, even seniors can enjoy the beautiful scenes of the whole park.
Divided by the North Fifth Ring Road, the Olympic Forest Park has a Northern Garden and a Southern Garden connected by an ecological bridge stretching over the city's expressway. There are many spots dotted in the park, including Yangshan Mountain, Aohai Sea, large-scale flower fields, and artificial wetland. You can also find large sports fields as well, like National Tennis Center, football field, and hockey field. Grab your exercise equipments to do some work out there is another way to enjoy yourself.
The Southern Garden covers an area of 1.5 square miles (3.8 square kilometers) with two particularly famous spots, Yangshan Mountain and Aohai Sea.
Aohai Sea - Entering from the southern gate, you can see a wide stretch of water in front of you, shining under the bright sunlight. It is the Aohai Sea. There is a large open-air square at its south bank. If you are lucky enough, you may have a chance to admire the Grand Music Fountain performance from the bleachers on the square. The highest spout can reach a height of 262 feet (80 meters). Along with music rhythm, the fountain changes into different shapes. Sometimes it looks like a silver snake; sometimes it turns into a bunch of fireworks blooming in the air.
Yangshan Mountain - It is an artificial landscape on the north bank of Aohai Sea. At the peak of the mountain is a viewing platform named Tian Jing with two vantage points, Zhao Hua and Xi Shi, respectively at the west and east sides. Occupying the highest point of the whole park, Tian Jing is the best site to look across the whole park and the nearby National Stadium (Bird's Nest) and Aquatics Center (Water Cube).
You can also find a man-made wetland in the northwest of the Southern Garden. There is a transparent underwater corridor for visitors to enjoy the scenery beneath the water. On the west of the corridor is a tiny waterfall falling from a terrace in tiered fashion.
During the 2008 Olympic Games, tennis, shooting, and hockey competitions were held in the park. There used to be three large stadiums standing side by side in the west of the Southern Garden. Today, only the National Tennis Center is still doing its old job as a tennis venue. You can find a large-scale green land at the site of the shooting range, and the hockey field was rebuilt to also allow people play football there.
National Tennis Center - Covering an area of 200,000 square yards (167,225 square meters), it contains 10 competition courts and six practice courts with 17,400 guests' seats in total. The stadium is made of reinforced concretes without any decoration. The central court and two main courts are all designed like dodecagons with 12 bleachers on each edge. With the pale-grey concrete walls, they look like three lotuses blooming in the Olympic Forest Park. The China Open is held there every year in October. During that time, top tennis stars from all over the world will gather in the park.
There are fields for many other kinds of sports in the northwest corner of the Southern Garden, such as football, basketball, and badminton. If interested, you can go there to do some workout.
After the visit of the Southern Garden, you can stroll over the ecological bridge to get to the Northern Garden. This zone is a paradise for plants and animals and also a place for people to enjoy the beauty of the nature and get refreshed. In the southwest, there is a wide flower field with sunflowers, marigolds, and maidenhairs. The lake in the center of the garden is very peaceful, looking like a mirror being left on the lawn. Sometimes, you can encounter a gaggle of geese walking on the bank or swimming in the water leisurely. If you want to enjoy a close contact with these lovely creatures, try to lure them with bread crumbs and they would be very likely to waddle towards you.