1. Vigeland Park in Oslo, Norway

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While most sculpture parks pluck fine pieces from a variety of artists, Vigeland Park features the work of just one artist: Gustav Vigeland.

The park features more than 200 sculpture pieces by the artist, who heavily favours wrought iron, granite and bronze. Since the park's completion in 1949, much of the statues have taken on a certain aged quality. This, combined with the sheer detail in Vigeland's work has made this open air museum one of the most beloved parks in the world. You can take in some of Vigeland's signature works, like a Stomping Angry Little Boy or the Wheel of Life.

2. Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, Washington, US

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The Olympic Sculpture Park opened in 2007 as a collaborative effort between the Seattle Art Museum and the Trust for Public Land. This sculpture park was an effort to preserve the very last piece of undeveloped land on Seattle's waterfront. Not only was a wonderful piece of nature preserved in an otherwise constantly developing city, but the expanse is now the prize of the community.

See the Typewriter Eraser by Claes Oldenburg or Scale X by Coosje van Bruggen, all framed by the backdrop of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. It is a wonderful mingling between art and nature, all in the centre of an urban hub.

3. Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield, England

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Located upon the Bretton Estate, which can trace its history back to the 18th century, this park began as a 31-sculpture exhibit over 30 years ago. Some 60 sculptures now lie hidden among the forest, as well as five different indoor galleries of artwork.

Some of the featured artists include Anthony Caro, Henry Moore, William Turnbull and Isamu Noguchi. However there are some great rotating exhibits that pass through Yorkshire Sculpture Park from open air museums across the world.

4. Changchun World Sculpture Park in Changchun City, China

Changchun World Sculpture Park is located in China's Jilin Province. It hosts over 451 sculptures by some 401 sculptors from 216 different countries – effectively making it the largest sculpture park in the world.

Due to the sheer number of works within the park, every possible style is represented – from classical to modern – and made from probably every sculptable material on the planet. What has earned the Changchun World Sculpture Park so much international praise is the way it mingles Chinese and Western cultures so fluidly.

5. Billy Rose Art Garden in Jerusalem, Israel

The original sculpture collection made for the Israel Museum was crafted by famed sculpture Isamu Noguchi. However, after a sizeable donation from United States native and Broadway impresario Billy Rose, the Israel Museum created this outdoor sculpture park that bears his name.

The garden hosts a collection of sculptures by the most famous artists around. Look for Picasso’s concrete Profile, Alexander Calder’s The Sun at Croton, an outsized apple core made of aluminum by Claes Oldenburg and Rodin’s Adam.

6. Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, New York, US

sculpt 6creativecommons.org/Erik Anestad

The Storm King Art Center has been praised time and time again as the best outdoor sculpture park in the United States – if not the world.

Rolling hills and lightly wooded forests house over 100 unique sculptures. While many pieces are made from iron and steel in the modernist style, there are also plenty of classical style stone sculptures.

The best part is that the Storm King officials always have their eye out for great new sculptures that would make amazing editions to their park – so new work pops up all the time.

7. Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain

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Park Guell is the amusement park of sculpture parks. From the massive stone seating area shaded over by ornate pillars or the imaginatively detailed stonework by Antoni Gaudi, this park essentially feels like a playground made of artwork.

One of the focal points of the park is the central terrace which hosts a long bench sculpted in the shape of a sea serpent that curves through a number of mosaic smattered enclaves. There are sculptures in the open air, some of which visitors can even crawl through. It is one of the most amazing experiences that can be found in any open air museum.

8. Chianti Sculpture Park in Siena, Italy

Cradled in the Tuscan hills, art and nature blend seamlessly at the Chianti Sculpture Park. When the park acquires a new piece of art, it invites the artists to the area so that they can pick the location that would best fit their piece. The park hosts works from 25 different countries that have been made from a variety of materials, like glass, steel, granite and bronze. Each piece of art is like a surprise, like The Metropolitan Ostriches by Chinese sculpture Yu Zhaoyang. Visitors never know what surprises lurk around the corner of the winding path.

9. The Hakone Open-Air Museum in Hakone, Japan

sculpt 9creativecommons.org/Bob Owen

Set in the beautiful Hakone Mountains, the Hakone Open-Air Museum opened back in 1969 and now boasts some 120 works by modern artists. Art blends with nature as the works by both Japanese and Western artists are framed by trees, manicured grass and stunning mountain backdrops.

However, this open air garden is just a tease for sculpture fans, as inside the museum there is over 1,000 works to discover, including 100 masterpieces by luminaries like Rodin, Bourdelle, Miro, and Moore.

10. DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts, US

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The internationally renowned DeCordova Sculpture Park sprawls through the forests, fields and carefully-tended gardens of the DeCordova Museum grounds. The sculptures change from time to time as they rotate to other venues, but some of the permanent pieces are from renowned artists such as Sol Lweitt, Anthony Gormley, Aexander Liberman and Roy Lichtenstein.

11. Gibbs Farm in Kaipara District, New Zealand

sculpt 11creativecommons.org/Kiwi Flickr

Located just north of Auckland, park founder Alan Gibbs purchased a huge farm in 1991 – not to settle down to grow crops or raise livestock, but to build massive sculpture. Gibbs had more than enough room to host some of the biggest sculpture art in the world, such as the stunning piece called simply Horizon by Neil Dawson, which looks as though a giant cloth was falling from the sky and settling upon the Earth. Many of the pieces are so large in scale that the size is awe-inspiring in itself.

Don't worry, though. The farmland isn't going to waste: visitors are more than likely to see a few sheep climbing all over some of the immobile works of art.

12. The Fran and Ray Stark Sculpture Garden in Los Angeles, California, US

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Located just outside the J Paul Getty Museum is the stunning Fran and Ray Stark Sculpture Garden. It is certainly not the largest outdoor sculpture park with only 28 works, but that does not make it any less special.

This park earned such a prestigious name for itself because all 28 works on view were donated from the private collection of film producer Ray Stark and his wife Fran. The oldest statue dates back to 1911 and the newest is from the 1980s. Some of the artists showcased in the collection include huge names on the sculpting scene like Alberto Giacometti, René Magritte, Saul Baizerman, Elisabeth Frink, Ellsworth Kelly and Roy Lichtenstein.

For guests who want a bird's eye view over the whole affair, be sure to make a visit up to the museum terrace, which looks down over the whole sculpture garden.

13. Kielder Water and Forest Park in Northumberland, England

Kielder Water and Forest Park is more so a park with some sculptures hidden in it. With only 22 pieces along the 47-kilometre forest trail, it will definitely take more than a day to see it all. However, in between hiking to the next beautiful piece of art you’ll see some of the most beautiful forest along the Scottish-English border.

14. Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy

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Believe it or not, but out of the hundred or so reasons to visit Florence, a trip to the Boboli Garden is pretty high up on the list. Dotted throughout the beautifully maintained rose gardens are stunning statues from the 16th and 17th century. The most popular spot within the park is the serene Neptune fountain.

15. Musee Rodin in Paris, France

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The Musee Rodin is the only park almost completely dedicated to Rodin's works – of which there are many. Located just outside Rodin's Paris home, together the outdoor park and the indoor museum host over 6,000 sculptures. Of course the museum has the most prominent Rodin pieces like The Thinker, The Kiss and The Gates of Hell.

16. Lapidea International Sculpture Symposium in Mayen, Germany

The Lapidea International Sculpture Park is constantly changing each year because of the event called ‘The Symposium’. Located just outside the region’s basalt-lava quarries, each year budding young artists gather to show their prowess in the art of the stone. After the event is over and the artists have left, all that remains is the fruit of their labour.

 

 

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