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Attractions

The Reservoir in Central Park
The Reservoir in Central Park by Rick Anderson

Central Park offers hundreds of special attractions for solo explorers and families across its 843 acres: green meadows, sprawling waters, gardens, unique bridges, performance centers, educational facilities and classical architecture.

Above all, the greatest Attraction of Central Park – marked at the north by 110th Street, south by 59th Street, Fifth Avenue to the east and Central Park West on the west – is its picturesque beauty, filled with natural green landscapes, vistas as far as the eye can see, and a pastoral escape within the most-populated city in the U.S. Whether you choose to search out specific destinations or wander the hundreds of paths – each season, each day and each visit offers something new.

Each Attraction is described in detail by clicking on the titles to the left, but among the most popular among city dwellers and tourists alike are as follows:

HISTORY & CULTURE

Central Park street performer
Central Park street performer by DENGOLD1

Designed in 1865, Belvedere Castle was named in Italian for "beautiful view," offering panoramic views. Today it is a fully functional weather station.

The Blockhouse is a remaining fort from the War of 1812 located at the northern end of the park, while the Continental Army walked through McGown's Pass on the Upper East Side in 1783 during the American Revolution.

Central Park also boasts numerous statues of iconic figures, including William Shakespeare, Balto, Alice & Wonderland and the oldest public monument in North America, The Obelisk.

The Central Park Carousel, built in 1871, is open April through November.

The Park's outdoor amphitheater hosts Shakespeare in the Park summer festivals.

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NATURE

Nature
Hallett Nature Sanctuary by Central Park Conservancy

The 55-acre Great Lawn, in the center of Central Park from 79th to 85th streets, hosted a Papal Mass in 1995.

Foliage in much of Central Park is, in fact, almost entirely landscaped. The park contains several man-made lakes and ponds, along with walking and bridle paths. Cherry Blossom trees abound throughout the park in the spring. There are also: a Wildlife Sanctuary, a large area of natural woods with natural geologic formations, and a 106-acre, billion-gallon Reservoir with an encircling running track.

Located at Fifth Avenue and 105th Street, the Conservatory Garden is Central Park's consummate quiet, calm formal garden.

The neoclassical Bethesda Fountain – known as the Angel of Waters – is a focal point of Bethesda Terrace, some 26 feet high by 96 feet wide. It has been featured in dozens of feature films as a romantic pinnacle of New York City.

SPORTS ENTHUSIASTS

Runner friends
Runner friends by aric

The Wollman Ice-Skating Rink offers skating and hockey programs in winter and Victorian Gardens from June to September. There is also a second ice-skating rink in Central Park that transforms into Lasker Pool in summers, as well as baseball fields, tennis courts and other sport attractions scattered throughout the park.

Catch and release fishing is offered at the Meer through the Dana Discovery Center, which lends visitors bamboo fishing poles for catching bass, catfish, bluegill sunfish, grass carp, rock perch and golden shiners.

Renting a rowboat from the Loeb Boathouse has been a focal activity in Central Park since the 19th Century. Visitors can spot Mute Swans and ducks, in addition to the occasional Heron or Egret.

There are also numerous grassy areas used for informal and team sports, and kid's playgrounds; while 6 miles of drives are open to joggers, bicyclists, skateboarders and inline skaters, especially on weekends and after 7 p.m., when vehicles are prohibited.

FAMILIES & KIDS

Family Activities
Bubble kids by Lamany

The world famous Central Park Zoo & Wildlife Center and the Children's Zoo, over 6.5 acres, may comprise a mere .77% of the park's acreage, and yet they hold 1,400+ animals and 130+ species in tropic, garden and polar temperature zones. There is also the Tisch Children's Zoo, featuring a petting zoo, Acorn Theatre and the Enchanted Forest, a habitat for birds, turtles and frogs.

The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre offers productions in summertime and during the school season like "Sleeping Beauty," "Cinderella" and "Jack and the Beanstalk."

Interactive Central Park Map

GETTING AROUND

For guidance while exploring, please refer to our map of Central Park.

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Top of Page Header Photo: © Aric Boyles 2014
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