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Best Things to do in Central Park NYC
Amazing New York with Kids!
The vast park in the middle of New York City provides a much-needed relief from the concrete jungle. Central Park is more than just a green expanse of trees, flower beds and lawns there are many exciting attractions within the 843 acre park.
The park has waterways, playgrounds with special kid's activity programs in the summer, bridges, restaurants and both cultivated and uncultivated natural areas. Central Park is closed from 1am to 6pm. This is just a taste of all that Central Park has to offer, you can read more about the facilities on the Central Park NYC website.
- Gardens and Parklands - Take the kids into the 38 acre wilderness area of the Rambles and let them explore the meadows, rockeries and streams. For more natural woodlands the park also has the North Woods and the Hallett Nature Sanctuary. For a landscaped garden that is tranquil and away from the activities of the park you can relax in the Conservatory Garden where there are lawns and beautifully planted flower displays.
- Belvedere Castle – To explore the castle get a free discovery kit (you'll need to leave a form of ID) from the castle. In the kit is a pair of binoculars, a map and a bird-watching guide. The castle is home to the Henry Luce Nature Observatory and you can stand on the balconies and get a great view across the park.
- Central Park Zoo – Taking up 6.5 acres of the park this zoo is home to 130 species of animals which include endangered species. The animals include penguins, leopards and sea lions. There is an indoor ant farm, a petting zoo and activities in the zoo. Admission is $12 for adults and $7 for kids 3-12 years old.
- Statues – On Pilgrim Hill see the statue of John Quincy Adams Ward and in the winter join the hundreds of families sledding down the hill. The park offers a great educational opportunity as you can show kids the many statues of famous figures and tell them about their deeds. However the sculpture kids will love most is of Alice in Wonderland on a giant mushroom talking to the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter.
- Cycling - Cyclists can ride along the 6.1 miles of bike paths which cover both level and hilly terrain. During week days cyclists can enjoy the traffic free park from 10am to 3pm and from 7am until closing. When the park is open to traffic there are bike lanes throughout the park. It is possible to rent a bike in the park at the Loeb Central Park Boathouse and the Bike and Roll NYC or from Central Park Tours.
If you'd rather explore the park with a knowledgeable guide you can take a guided tour. There is a 2 hour Central Park Bicycle Tour ($53) offered by Central Park Tours. The tours take you passed all the main sites in the park including Strawberry Fields, Belvedere Castle and the Wollman Ice Skating Rink. The tour guide who accompanies the groups is knowledgeable and can tell the group about the various sites. The bike tours leave daily at 10am, 2pm and 5pm. If you want something a little different then take one of the rickshaw tours ($47 for a 1 hour tour and $89 for a 2 hour tour which covers the entire park). Each rickshaw can hold up to 2 adults and one child. Central Park Tours also offers a 2 hour walking tour for $53.
You can book your Central Park Tour online and get a 10% discount. Tours meet at 58th Street and Broadway, in front of the Argo Tea Café or you can be picked up from your hotel by the tour guide. The tours begin and end at Columbus Circle.Central Park Tour online and get a 10% discount. Tours meet at 58th Street and Broadway, in front of the Argo Tea Café or you can be picked up from your hotel by the tour guide. The tours begin and end at Columbus Circle.
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