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Kempner Park is free of charge and open to the public!

The flamboyant octagonal Garten Verein (Garden Club) was the center of 19th-century refined social life in Galveston. Lit at night like a fairy lantern, dancing couples would swirl within as German waitresses served beer steins and sandwiches.

Built by Galveston's prosperous German community — but open to anyone who could afford the modest membership — the whimsically designed Victorian pavilion flew the flags of all nations, and sported a bowling green, exotically landscaped park, croquet grounds, an ornate fountain, and even a genteel zoo.

Galveston businessman Stanley Kempner bought the site in 1923 and donated it to the city as a public park dedicated to his parents.

In 1998, the Kempner Fund provided a $1 million restoration grant for the fanciful pavilion.

Not open for touring, although it is available for private parties.