It’s no secret that I’m in love with Central Park! I have spent many hours walking and cycling it’s paths since we arrived in New York in late June. It is a magical place for children too so I’m going to share all the highlights with you so you can plan your visits ( you will want to come more than once) to Central Park. Your children will be kept occupied and happy for hours!
1. Central Park has 21 children’s play areas dotted around the inside perimeter of the park. The largest, the Heckscher Playground is at the southern end of the park. It has all the usual slides, swings and climbing towers, as well as multiple fountains for the children to play in.
At the east entrance to the playground a woman has set up a stall where she does face painting. Often, close by, is a man who makes animals with balloons.
The playground pictured below has a gorgeous hippo theme and is situated on the west side of the park.
2. Behind the Heckscher Playground is the Heckscher Ballfield which has six softball diamonds which are available in fine weather.
3. Kids love to climb and Central Park is full of huge rocky outcrops that they can play on. Adults love them too The largest rocks are either side of the Heckscher Playground and behind the Wollman Rink.
4. The Wollman Rink, at the south end of Central Park is open for skating from late October to early April each year. In the Summer the Wollman Rink is taken over by a sideshow pictured below.
Wollman Rink-turned-Summer side show
5. Nearby is the vintage carousel, built in 1908, which has 58 hand-carved horses to ride on.
6. At the north-east end of Central Park, overlooking Harlem Meer, is the Lasker Pool and Rink. In Summer this Olympic sized pool is open from 11am-3pm and then 4pm-7pm. It is FREE but you must bring a lock to secure your possessions in the lockers provided. The Parks and Recreation staff are very strict about this. In the winter Lasker Pool becomes a skating rink.
7. The Central Park Zoo is situated at the south-eastern most end of the park. Adjacent and immediately north of the main zoo is the Children’s Zoo which is where the kids can interact and feed the likes of goats, sheep, cows and pigs. Entrance to the petting zoo is included in the admission price to the main zoo.
8. A little north of the zoo, at about the 74th St level of the park, is the Conservatory Water. Model yachts sail on this pretty man-made lake from June-October and are a delight to watch. If you want to give it a go you can rent a yacht from the Kerb Memorial Boathouse and lessons are available. At the north end of the water is the Alice In Wonderland statue which children love to climb on. On the west side is the Hans Christian Andersen (The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid etc) statue where every Saturday morning from June through September there is story-telling hour between 11am-midday.
9. Walking west of Conservatory Water you come to the Loeb Boathouse where you can rent row boats (for $12/hour) on the The Lake. I think that The Lake is one of the prettiest parts of Central Park.
Rowing boats on The Lake
10. For older children and adults alike it is fun to ride around Central Park. There are bike rentals at Columbus Circle at the south-west corner of the park, and they do have smaller bikes available for children. I probably wouldn’t recommend cycling around the park to children under 8 years old for two reasons. The road that you cycle on is shared with vehicle and pedestrian lanes. Also there are many pedestrian crossings and pedestrians
Playa del Carmen, Mexico - November 2013
I recently left my job to try out life as digital nomad, slow traveling my way around the world.
To learn my tips for traveling in comfort without a big budget, follow my journey here on our blog or on Facebook.