MANY, LA (KPLC) - State tourism officials are hoping a new national designation will attract new visitors to Hodges Gardens State Park. The park is now on the National Register of Historic Places. When A.J. Hodges took an abandoned quarry and built a scenic garden using natural rock formations, it got attention from all over the world. Opened in the mid-fifties, Hodges Gardens State Park features over 700 acres of wild and cultivated beauty.
Park manager Kim Kelly says the waterfall system was designed by Hodges himself.
"There's three waterfalls in the gardens," said Kelly. "The lake provides the water for all that. It comes from the lake, pumped up to the highest point, then it flows down the waterfalls and the streams and back down to the lake. He was way ahead of his time with all of his water features."
The park offers boating, kayaking and fishing on the 225 acre lake, as well as camping, hiking and equestrian trails.
"Coming in, you step back in time to a more peaceful, simple way of life from back then. You leave changed. You can't come in those gates and not leave a little more at peace, a little affected by the serenity by all of it."
Hodges Gardens State Park is located on Highway 171, between Hornbeck and Florien. It's about an hour and a half drive from Lake Charles.
For information: http://www.crt.state.la.us/louisiana-state-parks/parks/hodges-gardens-state-park