It’s official -- Esther Simplot Park is now open.

The 55-acre park is located along Whitewater Park Boulevard between State and Main streets, just north of Quinn's Pond.

The park is a place for a wide range of activities, from picnicking to paddle boarding.

It's the newest in what Boise city leaders call the "Ribbon of Jewels" -- a system of parks along the Boise River named for prominent local women.

Hundreds of people showed up for this afternoon's grand opening, including the park's namesake, Esther Simplot, who calls the new park a "wonderful treasure."

"The community's going to enjoy this forever. It has so many things that children and people can do and enjoy," said Esther Simplot. "I lived in New York for about 10 years. I know a bit about Central Park, and it's pretty awesome, but I think in comparison, for the size of Boise, this and the combination of the other parks, just fantastic. I don't think there's any other city that has this type of group of parks for the enjoyment of the people."

Esther Simplot is the widow if the late businessman J.R. Simplot who died in 2008.

She says he would be very proud of the interest in the park, and the way his son and other family members helped make it possible.