Originally the Wickham Family Estate, when they died they willed it to a Foundation to become a park. Right at the Manchester-East Hartford line, where W. Middle Tpke. turns into Burnside Ave, this is a large park with lovely paths to walk, bike or jog, including ordinary dirt paths thru wooded areas (for hiking, not biking). It also has an oriental garden, a bird sanctuary, a hilltop with a fantastic view, a small collection of animals, playgrounds and numerous picnicking spots. Some of the larger picnicking spots include pavilions & require making a reservation; they're excellent for any group event--wedding, family reunion, company picnic, church picnic, etc. You can play tennis, softball, volleyball & horseshoes, and I only just learned this myself when I found the web site to provide the link below: they've just put in a frisbee golf course!! And they're working on an English garden!
It's really a lovely park. I've gone walking in it on my own & felt safe enough, although I'm not sure I'd go too far off into the woods on my own, because I'm not sure how naive I'm being. My only complaint is that they don't open early enough in the morning to take advantage of cool morning air for summertime exercise or for people to use it before going to work (they don't open until 9:30 am).
They charge for parking, but it's only like $2-$3 for a car, and that's the only fee to use it. (i.e. If you lived in one of the apartment complexes across the street you could walk over & use it free.) They're generally not open in the winter, but they do use the cabin on the top of the hill for a special Santa thing at Xmastime.
Exit 60 off I-84. EB, turn left; WB turn right. It's right there on your right. From the middle of Manchester, you can just go straight west on either Middle Tpke. or Center St. (which turns into W. Middle Tpke. just before the highway) until you cross over I-84.
This picture really doesn't do it justice--how do you capture so much area in one picture?!