S – Things To Do In PE Beginning With S

S – Things To Do In PE Beginning With S

S is for SAMREC, Sand-sledding/boarding and St. Georges Park

SAMREC (SA Marine Rehabilitation & Education Centre) I blogged a little about SAMREC under P for Penguins & N for Nature Reserves, as it is  situated in the Cape Recife Nature Reserve, and is also so much more than just penguins.sos-samrec-2 The centers purpose isn’t just to rescue and rehabilitate, but to educate and inform the public through their different programs.Tour the marine rehabilitation and education center and experience nature through sight, sound and touch. Visitors can experience the hospital and see the volunteers in action helping to save our environment, in particular the endangered African Penguin. sos-samrec-3Please like their Facebook Page  and join in to help our extensive Marine life. SAMREC holds regular penguin releases. sos-samrec-1A great outing for the family and much excitement is created as these little birds head out into the breakers on their journey back to their breeding grounds. A great job is done at the facility of caring and rehabilitating everything from, not only Penguins, but Gannets, Herons, Seals, Turtles, Dolphins and any other Marine life washed up or injured along our coastline. sos-samrec-4They are always on the lookout for volunteers, so if you have a bit of spare time, or some spare cash, I’m sure they’ll welcome you with open “Flippers”.

ST. GEORGE’S PARK – The oldest park in Port Elizabeth, established in 1860, situated within walking distance of the city center. and spread over 73 hectares comprises some magnificent tree specimens and extensive plant collections. To find out more about the history and facilities please click on the link above. In the Park one will find many attractions and things to do:

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  • The oldest cricket club Port Elizabeth Cricket Club, now Crusaders, founded in 1843; the founder cricket club in South Africa.
  • The oldest bowling green in South Africa (named “Founders Green”) at the Port Elizabeth Bowling Club
  • St. George’s Park Swimming Pool which also houses the Master Harold tearoom which was used as the setting for the apartheid era play “Master Harold”…and the Boys by Athol Fugard.
  • Prince Alfred’s Guard Memorial
  • Pearson Conservatory which was built for the cultivation of exotic plants, water lilies and beautiful orchids
  • A children’s Playground
  • The Mannville Open Air Theatre, constructed in 1971, is used as part of the annual Port Elizabeth Shakespearean Festival.
  • The Sea Scouts facility. The Sea Scouts Hall, is the former home of the 72nd Air School, a Second World War Women’s Auxiliary Air Force basic training school.
  • The Prince Alfred’s Guard Memorial
  • Port Elizabeth Cenotaph

Along with a few other attractions. Don’t forget the monthly Art in the Park along with the occasional dog show, live music, and other attractions.

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Sand Sledding and Sand Boarding – This is an Adrenaline Junkies paradise. The Sundays River, which has its source in the Sneeuberg, hosts many different activities and down at the mouth, which, at the town of Colchester, splits the largest dune field in the whole southern hemisphere, the the Alexandria Dune Fields. SOS Sand Sledding 2.JPG
Take a ferry ride to the dunes and let the adventure begin. Safety is paramount and full instructions are given before hitting the slopes. Custom made sleds make for an incredible smooth ride all the way down to the waters edge.
IMG_0205.JPGThe long trek back up is quickly forgotten once the adrenaline kicks in.
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And if you are the real adventure sports lover then Sand Boarding is just for you.
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R – Things To Do In PE Beginning With R

R – Things To Do In PE Beginning With R

R is for Richmond Park and Route 67

RICHMOND PARK – I’d heard of Richmond Hill (locally referred to “Rich Man’s Hill”) and stumbled across this little park a while back on a Geocaching outing. Then a friend posted a link with regards to its history and I was fascinated. The suburb has become a hive of activity recently with Stanley Street (known as The Strip) and surrounds housing some of the best Eateries in the City.

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The picture above left shows a 1905 map with the Park labeled as “Native Burial Ground”. I found it on a Wiki Page which states that it is public domain and there is no copyright. The Picture on the right, from Google Maps, has been used to try and give some perspective of the present day situation. The Oval Athletics track was previously a “DAM” and St.Georges Park can be seen at the top of the picture.

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Above is a picture by Sue Hoppe of what the park looks like at present. the park was proved to be the site of the historic Mfengu burial ground when excavation took place to build a Police Call Center in readiness for the 2010 World Cup Soccer held in Port Elizabeth. The red roofed building, a National Monument, is the Old Erica School, itself a National Monument. The history of this little piece of Port Elizabeth is something special and more can be read on the wikilovesmonuments page, for those that are interested. Some photos and historic maps can be found here.

 

ROUTE 67 – If you haven’t seen the “101 THINGS TO DO IN AND AROUND PORT ELIZABETH blog then click on the link immediately. If you take the 51 places of historic interest on the Donkin Heritage Trail and the 67 Public Art Works of Route 67 then already one has 118 Things To Do, then add the 99 other Things to Do on the list one has a list of over 200 Things to Do in PE. Who was it who said: “There’s nothing to do in PE?”

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The 67 Public Art Works symbolizes Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of work dedicated to the Freedom of South Africa. The artworks were designed by local artists and the route is a celebration of our cities heritage and history. This is a must see stop for the whole family to walk and to enjoy. Guided Tours of Route 67 is available at the Donkin Visitor Information Office inside the lighthouse building.
Route 67 starts at the Campanile and climbs and meanders up to the Donkin Reserve to the Great flag on top of the hill.

Route 67 forms part the greater Nelson Mandela Bay Arts Journey which includes a number of Art Galleries and different locations such as the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Museum, the Athenaeum Building, the Red Location Museum, Uitenhage Market Square and the artEC Art Gallery to name a few.

Thanks to Sue Hoppe for the pics.

Q – Things To Do In PE Beginning With Q

Q – Things To Do In PE Beginning With Q

This was a difficult one. Not many things beginning with Q in PE although I was always aware of the one in the City center. The 2nd one came as quite a surprise as I did my research for this blog.

QUEEN VICTORIA STATUE – When SOS QV.JPGQueen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee
came around in 1897 a fund raising movement started and a renowned sculptor commissioned to make the statue from Sicilian Marble. The statue was erected in front of the City’s Library and unveiled on 30 September 1903 where the statue remains to this day.
In 1992 the statue was restored by Anton Momberg., a well known Port Elizabeth-based sculptor

The statue became one of many to be vandalized with paint and graffiti during iconoclastic demonstrations, however it has been restored to its former glory.
The statue can be viewed as part of the Donkin Heritage and Route 67 routes.

QUEEN ELIZABETH II CORONATION MEMORIAL – At the entrance to the King George V memorial, at the top of Cannon Hill in Uitenhage, are the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Gates. Sadly the park has fallen into disrepair with little to no garden maintenance and the gates stolen. I really need to take a drive out there again and see if anything has been changed. The King George V memorial can be seen in the background.
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Many thanks to Firefly for the Picture.

P – Things To Do In PE Beginning With P

P – Things To Do In PE Beginning With P

P is for Prestor John, Pearson Conservancy, Penguins & Parkrun

PRESTER JOHN MEMORIAL CROSS – Unveiled in 1968, behind the City Hall in SOS Prester John.jpgFleming Square, by the then Portuguese Ambassador to South Africa, the cross is dedicated to the mythical king-priest, Prester John, and the Portuguese explorers who discovered South Africa. The memorial consists of a large Coptic cross and, in the central circle, are the figures of Prester John and a Portuguese navigator. Portuguese explorers convinced themselves that the mythical figure was in Ethiopia and attempted to find him by navigating around the tip of Africa. It is believed to be the only monument in the world depicting Prester John.

 

 

SOS Pearson Conservancy 2.jpgPEARSON CONSERVANCY – Opened in 1882, the Victorian Pearson Conservatory was built for the cultivation of exotic plants, water lilies and orchids. Named after Mr Henry Pearson who was Mayor of P.E. on 16 occasions, member of the Legislative Assembly, Treasurer-General of the Cape 1880-81 and Colonial Secretary in 1889, who also suggested the establishment of the conservatory for the cultivation of exotic plants. It was declared a national monument in 1983. Situated in St.Georges Park and subsequent to extensive restoration, after nearly being demolished, it is well worth a visit while strolling through the Park, which has many other offerings to keep one occupied for most of the day.

 

PENGUINS – Nelson Mandela Bay might be the Bottlenose Dolphin Capital of the World, Penguins hold a special place in the hearts of many locals. St. Croix Island is hoe to large numbers of the African Penguins, also known as the Jackass Penguin because of its loud raucous braying call. Bird Island also hosts many of these birds and due to their dwindling numbers Port Elizabeth has its very own Marine Rehabilitation and Environment Center (SAMREC) situated at Cape Recife, where many of these bird, found stranded on beaches due to ocean pollution and rehabilitated by willing volunteers. Now everyone knows that Penguins are flightless along with Ostriches, Kiwis, and Dodos and if we do not want these magnificent birds to disappear from our planet then we need to ensure their environment is kept in pristine condition. No one has told penguins that they are not supposed to be able to fly and on a visit there I was privileged to see one trying out his wings.

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Pop into SAMREC and spend some time learning about the plight of the penguin and many other sea birds found along our shoreline and in our bay.

PARKRUN – How could I forget about Parkrun???? Here I am a 100 Parkrun veteran and it just has to feature.sos-parkrun-1

Read more about the story of Parkrun here. Founded by a South African, Paul Sinton-Hewitt, 13 Parkrunners got together in Bushy park, Teddington, UK, on 2 October 2004 and from there this free, fun, timed 5km run (every Saturday morning at 08h00) down at PE Hobie Beach & takes place in 14 countries and in over 1000 cities and towns around the world. Parkrun organises free, weekly, 5km timed runs around the world. They are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in.Lately the Lady Slipper Parkrun has joined the PE Parkrun family and soon there will be one in Sardinia Bay. The great thing about it is that you do not have to run. Many walkers stroll along for the company and the camaraderie. I look forward to seeing you there.

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Thanks again to Firefly for the pics.

 

O – Things To Do In PE Beginning With O

O – Things To Do In PE Beginning With O

O is for Opera House

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OPERA HOUSE – Opened in 1892 and proclaimed a national monument in 1980, The Port Elizabeth Opera House and Barn Theatre is the only surviving example of a Victorian Theatre in Africa and the oldest theatre on the continent of Africa and the Southern Hemisphere.

Extended in 1985 and along with renovations to the Opera House. Further extensions were added in 2015. More history here.

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Thanks to NMBT & Firefly for content and pictures. Please follow the link above to learn more of the history of this fascinating building.

N – Things To Do In PE Beginning With N

N – Things To Do In PE Beginning With N

N is for Nature Reserves and the Nelson Mandela Bay Pass

 

NELSON MANDELA BAY PASSExperience a whole lot more for less.SOS NMB Pass.jpg A smartcard access card, provides you with free admission to a variety of attractions and activities in Nelson Mandela Bay. This includes, amongst others, museums, game reserves, scuba diving, art galleries, sightseeing tours and many more. It also entitles you to some great discounts in selected stores for shopping, activities, entertainment and more. The Nelson Mandela Bay Pass offers flexibility, convenience, variety and savings.

If you are a visitor to the City or a resident the options will suit you and your pocket.Click on the link above for all the info you need.

NELSON MANDELA BAY TRAVEL GUIDE APP – 

Now there is also an App for your smart phone which will help guide you to the many attractions around the City. Download it if you are a visitor or become a tourist in your own town.  Click on the links below to download the app.sos-nmbt-logo

Android

 

Apple (IOS)

Windows

 

 

NATURE RESERVES – Port Elizabeth is the only Metro in South Africa which boasts an entrance to a National Park within its boundaries. Addo Elephant National Park is a must do and along with this iconic conservation area, there are many others within the Metros boundaries.

I’m sure I’ll miss a few but these are the ones I am aware of……………

Cape Recife Nature Reserve – This reserve houses the Lighthousesos-cape-recife, SAMREC, an old military observation post, a bird hide and the Roseate Tern Hiking Trail.

 

Grysbok Reserve – A SOS Grysbok.jpgunique feature of the campus of NMMU, you will find this small reserve. Walk the trail and enjoy the flora and fauna of the coastal dunes.

 

Island Nature Reserve – Indigenous Alexandria coastal forest, SOS Island.jpgboasting Outeniqua Yellowwood, White Pear and Hard pear as well as White Milkwood. Abundant small fauna and a birders paradise. Walking trails for all as well as picnic & braai areas.

 

Maitland Nature Reserve – Giant Maitland Sand Dunes, SOS Maitland.jpgabundant birdlife, small fauna, including bushbuck & blue duiker and hiking trails alon old wagon trails which lead to Maitland lead mines.

 

 

Sardinia Bay Nature Reserve – Between SOS Sardinia.JPGSchoenmakerskop and Seaview, is accessed by traveling along Sardinia Bay Road. Regarded as one of the best walking beaches with miles of unspoilt coastline. Fishing not permitted as the coast has been declared a Marine Reserve, but snorkeling and scuba-diving are very popular. Sardinia Bay is also the starting point of the very popular eight-kilometer Sacramento hiking trail.

 

Settlers Park Nature ReserveIn the heart of the city lies this SOS Settlers Park.jpgNature Reserve with 3 entrances. Short walks in nature might even find you astounded at the fact that there are remnants of Boer War trenches next to the path. There is a flower display, a scale model of the 1820 Settlers Statue, picnic areas, bird life and the 8km Guinea Fowl Trail also meanders through the reserve.

 

St. Croix Island Reserve – Three rocky islands are situated off the mouth SOS St Croix.jpgof the Coega River in Algoa Bay. The reserve was established as a breeding ground for the African penguin (Spheniscus demersus), previously known as the Jackass Penguin, which is now recognized as an endangered species. Not open to the public but Raggy Charters do boat tours to the island.

Swartkops Aloe Reserve – The Estuary in amongst the urSOS Aloe Trail.jpgban sprawl with its saltpans, is a mecca for the less common estuarine waders and terns. A “must see” for birders and can produce 100 species in Summer. The Zwartkops Valley and Aloe Nature Reserves protect the dense succulent thicket vegetation on the northern escarpment.

 

Van Stadens Wild Flower Reserve – A 500 hectare sos-van-stadens“floral wonderland” reserve. The prime purpose of the Reserve is to protect and propagate the unique indigenous flora. Explore and Enjoy the extraordinary diversity and splendour of the natural Fynbos, succulents and other indigenous flora. Mountain biking, Walks and hikes (The Link Trail, Van Stadens Hike, Forest Walk, Nymph Walk, River Walk), The Arboretum, a Bird hide or just go and enjoy picnic/Braai.

 

Thanks to Luc Hosten & Firefly for the pics. Read more here for more info about hiking trails in many of the reserves I have mentioned.

M – Things To Do In PE Beginning With M

Things To Do In PE Beginning With M

M is for Museums, Memorials, MacArthur Baths & Mountain Biking

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MUSEUMS and MEMORIALS

I’m sure I have left out a few, but if anyone ever tells you that “There is nothing to do in PE”, just send them to this page and I’m sure they will have to eat their words.

International Museum Day is held around 18 May every year since 1977.

Being an historical city from many different points of view, one has a huge choice of Museums and Memorials in and around the city. From the Donkin Memorial overlooking the City Center and the Bay with it’s lighthouse and stone Pyramid in honour of the lady after whom the city is named to a tiny memorial to Frederick Korsten, one of the first traders in the early Algoa Bay who became one of the wealthiest men in the Cape colony. The rise and fall of the families wealth and the hard working entrepreneurship was soon lost. Now few people know who built, and lived in Cradock Place. Sometimes, a broken imported, handmade tile, bearing a part of the family crest, would be uncovered, and thrown away. If you enjoy exploring and looking for these kinds of hidden gems then find this memorial at S33° 55.622 E025° 35.491

The list of Museums and Memorials is innumerable so I will list as many as I can think of:

7 Castle Hill, VW AutoPavillion, BayWorld which includes the Port Elizabeth Museum, Cuyler Manor Museum, Despatch Museum, Drosty Museum, Jewish Pioneer Memorial Museum, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, Old Railway Station Museum, Red Location Museum (Closed for now), South African Airforce Museum, South End Museum, Sukume Museum & Xhosa Culture Center, The Old Museum.

Anglo-Boer War Memorial, Basuto War Memorial, Campenile Memorial, Cenotaph, Emlotheni Memorial Park, Horse Memorial, Langa Memorial, Concentration Camp Memorial, Mendi Memorial, Prestor John Memorial, Prince Alfred’s Guard Memorial, Retief Park & Memorial.

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MOUNTAIN BIKING – For enthusiasts of this ever-growing activity will find an abundance of trails in and around PE. Load up your bike and find a favourite. Follow the link above for more info. The Baakens Valley trails are in accessible from every side of Port Elizabeth. The city can also boast a manufacturer of its own homegrown bike brand which are admired & sought-after internationally.

Also the Norm Hudlin Mountain Bike Trails, just off Kragga Kamma Road are purpose built riding trails which cater for all levels of mountain bikers.  Perfect for a family day out.

There are others to explore. Follow the link above.

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MCARTHUR POOL AND LEISURE CENTER – Also known as McArthur Baths, this leisure center is a popular family outing location. It features swimming pools, a kiosk and pool bar and access to restaurants and a surf shop.

L – Things To Do In PE Beginning With L

L – Things To Do in PE Beginning with L

L is for Lighthouses

There are over 50 lighthouses spanning the South African coastline. There are four within the Bay.

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THE HILL LIGHTHOUSE – This Lighthouse, built in 1861 as a warning signal to approaching ships. Although not in use anymore it offers one of the best views anywhere in the city from the top.Take a walk to the top for a small fee.

The original lighthouse had a height of 17 m. Around 1930 buttresses were added & the lighthouse was raised to its present height of 26m during a rebuild in a more Art Deco style. Built high on a hill, in the historic Donkin Reserve, behind the harbor, the light was replaced in 1973 by the Deal Light (see below) near the mouth of the Papenkuils River.

The city’s tourist information center is house in the old keepers house.

 

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THE DEAL LIGHT – This lighthouse, on top of a skeletal tower, replaced the Hill Lighthouse in 1973. Not easy to get to but can be seen as one drives, in a Westerly direction, out of Port Elizabeth on the N2. The name comes from Deal in Kent, England, from where many Settlers originated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

sos-cape-recife-lighthouse-1CAPE RECIFE LIGHTHOUSE – This zebra-striped lighthouse has been guarding the eastern cape (Cape Recife) of Algoa Bay since 1851 where Thunderbolt Reef awaits any vessel which veers off course. The reef, named after the HMS Thunderbolt, a steam driven man o’war, which struck the deadly spines of rock on a fine day in 1847. SOS Cape Recife Lighthouse 2.jpgMany stories, both tragic and romantic, abound using this lighthouse as central to their core. Read more about the Cape Recife Lighthouse here. This area is a photographaers paradise for breath-taking sunsets. Many thanks to Luc Hosten for the absolutely stunning photos of this easily accessible lighthouse.

 

 

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BIRD ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE – One of my bucket list items is to be able to go out to Bird Island, which lies approximately 60km ENE of Port Elizabeth. The group of islands and rocky formations is known as the having the worlds  largest population of Cape gannets, and a fair number of penguins. The largest reef in the group of islands, known as Black Rock , also has a population of seals.
Raggy Charters, who I must gratefully thank for the awesome image of the Lighthouse, do boat trips out to the island and one day I will get to visit.

The islands have been declared a bird sanctuary and a marine protected area and is part of the Greater Addo Elephant National Park – The only Park in the world able to claim to house the Big 7. (Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Lion, Leopard, Great White Shark & the Southern-Right Whale.

Initially a wooden pyramid shaped lighthouse was erected in 1852 on the south side of the island. The Lighthouse keepers, in those days, were a special breed, as they had to endure great hardships including lack of drinking water and the provision of regular provisions.

In 1872 a stone lighthouse was erected. and the last permanent light-keeper left Bird Island in 1968. A helicopter now visits the island every few weeks taking technical staff across for maintenance.

 

K – Things To Do In PE Beginning With K

K – Things To Do in PE Beginning with K

K is for Kragga Kamma Game Park.

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KRAGGA KAMMA GAME PARK – This has to be one of the jewels of Port Elizabeth. Less than half an hour from the city center and one gets to experience some of the most amazing wildlife imaginable. Two of the Big 5, right on our doorstep, Rhino and Buffalo. I’m not talking about having to use binoculars to spot these magnificent beasts but sitting in your vehicle (No 4×4 needed) as they walk on by or perhaps join a guided drive and get to see them even closer with experienced and knowledgeable guides giving you the low down of the amazing efforts done to keep the Rhino from extinction. With no hunting allowed, this owner operated animal friendly park affords you the opportunity to always get close up views and great photo opportunities.

KKGP Cottage a.JPGGiraffe, Waterbuck, Bontebok, Nyala, Springbok, Impala, Rhebuck, Bushbuck, among others abound and what could be better than watching a family of wacky warthog strutting their stuff alongside your vehicle. Bird life is abundant & a loop through the Cheetah enclosure always throws up a surprise.

KKGP Mom & Tot5a.JPGPack a picnic and linger at the well equipped communal area or stop off on the balcony of the Bush Cafe for a welcoming cool drink, then take a walk across the suspension bridge and follow the Monkey Walk – a raised treetop walkway through a pristine indigenous forest.

If you are looking for a getaway don’t look any further than the comfortable and well equipped Lodges, Chalets, Cabins or Safari Tents on offer. Specials abound and you will not be disappointed.

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J – Things To Do In PE Beginning With J

Things To Do In PE Beginning With J

J is for Jewish Pioneer Memorial Museum

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JEWISH PIONEER MEMORIAL MUSEUM – It really is amazing how Geocaching has opened up the city to me. While in Richmond Hill I came across this Art Nouveau designed building, which is not seen much any more. Also it brought back some wonderful memories of my pre-school days and an opportunity to do some research on this building. I don’t get into this part of “Richman’s” Hill that often but was very glad to hover on this day.It feature memorabilia, ceremonial items and a photographic display. There is also a Jewish ex-servicemen memorial.

The Jewish Pioneers Memorial Museum is open to the public between 10am and noon every Sunday, except on Jewish holy days. This is the original Raleigh Street synagogue, which was used by the city’s Eastern European Jewish community between 1912 and 1954. Admission is free. Donations are gratefully accepted.
As mentioned, I have many wonderful memories of attending a Jewish playschool as a child and I was interested to find that there is a Holocaust Memorial in PE. At the Port Elizabeth Orthodox Hebrew Congregation Synagogue, in Glendinningvale, a monument was unveiled on 18 October 1988 (If my friend Google is correct) or 7 Tishri 5749 according to the Hebrew Calendar.
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The plaque has the following descriptive inscription:
This statue made up of six elements
varying in size and pointing heavenwards
symbolically represents the ages of
the six million Jewish victims, from
the youngest to the oldest, who
perished in the holocaust. 
The broken lines etched into the
granite reflect the shattered and
premature cutting short of their lives.
To all my Jewish friend: Shalom Shabbat
Thanks again to FireflyAfrica for the pics.