Cedar Hill For Sledding
Sledding is a favorite winter activity among families of every persuasion. Central Park’s Cedar Hill on the park’s east side is one of Manhattan’s favorite spots for sledding. The gently sloping hill looks like a picturesque green meadow in warmer times, but come winter it transforms into the perfect spot for sledding, making it the best spot in Central Park on a snowy day.
On days when the snow reaches six inches or more Cedar Hill opens up to the public for sledding and other snow fun. When Cedar Hill gets too crowded, many families head to Pilgrim Hill where sledding is also allowed.
/11 Memorial & Museum
Although taking the family to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum might not be the expected course of action, it can certainly be a thought-provoking and rewarding one. Helping kids to connect history and current events is a great way for them to feel included and valued, and parents are likely to learn a thing or two themselves.
Younger kids will enjoy: Listening to a reading of a story followed by hands-on art activity. Drop-in activity stations are tied to specific artifacts and themes in the Museum. *
Older kids will dig: Seeing in person the evidence of the events that happened when they were very young or have heard stories about.
Parents will love: Sharing a piece of history that they vividly remember with their children and the opportunity for age appropriate entry points into history and current events.
* Programs for younger children often take place on specific days, or need to be coordinated in advance.
Fun Things To Do In Nyc With Kids Of All Ages
Bustling New York City, NY features activities and sites that are suitable for almost any type of visitor and the family traveler is no different. New York offers a diverse selection of activities to engage the minds and speak to the hearts of children. The selection of museums includes several world-class childrens museums, public parks, playgrounds, free attractions and unique tours. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.
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One Of The Last Things To Do In Central Park With Kids
On our most recent trip to Central Park, I discovered the most fantastic thing. Celebrities have recorded guided tours to some of the most iconic Central Park attractions, and you can dial a number to listen to them! This was amazing! I got to hear about Strawberry Fields from Yoko Ono, about the carousel from Kelly Ripa, and the Rumsey Playfield from Neil Patrick Harris. Above is a map of the park, with the number and extensions for each attraction give this a try on your next trip, it was so much fun!
Book your trip to New York City HERE.
Learn About Science At Belvedere Castle
Have a budding scientist on your hands? The Henry Luce Nature Observatory offers telescopes, microscopes and even Discovery Kits that kids can take around the park to learn about nature through science. Admission is free. If your family loves to bird watch, the second floor of the castle is a great spot to get a birds eye view of the surrounding area. Afterwards, you can hang out on the Great Lawn. If you time it right, you might just get to see a free concert.
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Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre
Another amusing indoor activity in Central Park for children is the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, which puts on amazing and affordable performances throughout the year.
Be sure to check out the Central Park event calendar, no matter what time of year you visit!
Statue of Liberty and New York City skyline
Federal Hall National Monument
Located on Wall Street, this building served as the first capital of the United States, the Supreme Court, and the Executive Branch offices. George Washington took the oath of office as the first President of the United States at Federal Hall.
The visitor center is located at the Pine Street entrance. The Federal Hall National Monument is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and during the summer, its open Saturdays as well. Free to enter.
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Take A Ride At Victorian Gardens Amusement Park
During the winter months, this area, known as Wollman Rink, is filled with ice skaters and observers. However, during the summer months, it is transformed into Victorian Gardens Amusement Park. Victorian Gardens contains the tamer rides that you would see at a carnival. Kids will love riding on the swings or going around on the Ferris wheel. Except for the view of the tall buildings to the south, you wouldnt even know you were in New York!
Closest entrance to the Victorian Gardens: 59th St. and 6th Ave.
Top Of The Rock Observation Deck
Not only does the Top of the Rock Observation Deck provide sweeping views of Manhattan and Central Park unlike any other, its location in the heart of Rockefeller Center also makes it ideal for shopping, dining and entertainment. With so much going on, every member of the family is sure to find something they enjoy.
Kids will enjoy: Using the high-powered binocularsjust bring a bag of quarters and let them do their thing.
Parents will love: Checking out the many art deco pieces integrated into the buildings design. Youll feel like a part of modern pop culture while secretly really hoping for a photo-op with Tracy Morgan.
Wheres the food?: The dining options at and around Rockefeller Center are practically endless.
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Bonus Tip #2 Where To Stay In New York City
Luxury: The Mark New YorkGet the celebrity treatment with world-class service at The Mark New York, which is conveniently located a block away from Central Park. This pet friendly hotel is an excellent family hotel friendly staff, houses the wonderful restaurant by Jean-Georges and the rooms are large with tons of closet space and a large bath. Upper East side accommodation at its best.Book Now Pay Later Check Prices Here
Boutique: 1 Hotel Central ParkThis environmentally conscious hotel is only one block away from Central Park. It is an excellent property, has a unique contemporary design, is well maintained, great atmosphere and comfortable rooms. Select their suite and youll have a view of Central park as you are also surrounded by living green plants and thoughtful touches of nature. Best of all, the hotel also offers a complimentary Tesla to drive you within a 15-block radius of the hotel.Book Now Pay Later Check Prices Here
Mid-Range: Excelsior HotelThe Excelsior Hotel is located in the Upper West side and is about 160m away from Central Park and right at the 81st Street Museum of Natural History Subway Station. Rooms are comfortable albeit a bit dated but clean with a good shower. Great for families of 2 adults and 2 kids as they have rooms with 2 doubles, so it saves you from having to get a second room.Book Now Pay Later Check Prices Here
The Pond And Gapstow Bridge
The Pond is the southernmost body of water in the park. It is entirely man-made and is fed from the city water supply system.
Gapstow Bridge arches over the Pond and offers one of the best views of Midtown from Central Park. It is a classic spot for a photo so have your camera ready.
It is also a popular location for marriage proposals to take place – so have a ring with you too!
Go north up the path and then head under the Inscope Arch towards the Central Park Zoo.
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Fun Activities To Do In Central Park
Central Park is one of the most attractive and fun spots in New York City, thanks to the 843 acres of green space it provides. You wouldnt believe there is a park of this size right in the middle of such an active and congested city, right next to enormous 60-story skyscrapers. And you definitely wont believe how enveloped you feel in nature as soon as you step foot in Central Park with all its infinite possibilities for activities.
While there are seemingly unlimited things to do in Central Park, weve picked out a few of our favorites to share with you today. If you plan it well, you could spend the entire day in the park.
You can enjoy the grassy areas for a picnic, wander around discovering all the statues, monuments and buildings that are strewn around the park, or go on a tour via bike or horse carriage. Central park can be an active, exciting, and even romantic place to spend time.
History Of Central Park
Central Park was designed as an urban oasis to give New Yorkers an escape from the crowded city. The original design for New York, aid out by the City Commissioners in 1811 did not include a park.
Between that time and the 1850s, the city of New York quadrupled in size. As the city got more and more crowded, New Yorkers started seeking a respite.
Landscaped cemeteries became a popular place to stroll and picnic because they were among the only public green spaces in the city. It was time for a change in New York.
In 1853 the city purchased the land that would become Central Park for $5 million.
To ensure that they were getting the best design possible, they held a design competition to determine what the future park would look like.
The design team of Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux won the completion with a design called The Greensward Plan.
Even though the Greensward Plan was meant to look very naturalistic, this 843-acre park is entirely man-made.
The plan entailed clearing land as long as 2.5 miles from 59th Street to 110th Street and is 0.5 miles or wide between 5th Avenue and Central Park West.
The layout plan encompassed the use of 843 acres right in the middle of Manhattan.
The park was a massive undertaking. Construction began in 1857 and was completed in 1873.
Over 1500 residents had to be cleared from the area, particularly in Seneca Village, home to the Seneca Native American tribe.
We hope it has now become one of your favorite places.
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New York Botanical Garden
The 250-acre New York Botanical Garden has more than one million plants. The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, a Victorian-age beauty, is also a New York City landmark. The annual train show is held in here at holiday time.
Find displays of orchids, palms, and desert-loving plants inside the traditional greenhouse. The immersive Kusama: Cosmic Nature runs through October 31.
Located at 2900 Southern Blvd. in The Bronx. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and closing at 5 p.m. during the winter. Admission based on age.
Best for: all ages.
Ride The Central Park Carousel
TripSavvy / Brakethrough Media
Central Park has had a carousel since 1871 when it was powered by a horse and mule. It is said that the live mule or a horse was hidden beneath the carousel and would stop and start when the operator tapped on the wooden floor. Today’s carousel has been there since 1950 and was originally built for a trolley terminal outside of Coney Island, before being moved to Central Park.
The Central Park Carousel is entirely hand carved and hand painted and features the largest hand-carved figures ever made. Rides on the Central Park are $3 each for both adults and children.
The Central Park Carousel is located mid-park at approximately 65th Street and Sixth Avenue.
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Enjoy A Picnic In Central Park
TripSavvy / Brakethrough Media
If you want to spend the afternoon feeling like a “real” New Yorker, consider enjoying a picnic in Central Park.
First, you can shop for picnic provisions at a great New York City market and then you can relax and people-watch while you enjoy delicious food and drink.
On sunny days, people flock to the park to sunbathe. Bring your picnic lunch and sunscreen and join in. Sheep Meadow and the Great Lawn are two popular places to picnic and people-watch, but you can wander around and find a place that appeals to you, lay out your blanket, and have a marvelous picnic.
Bethesda Terrace And Fountain
The formal terrace was considered the heart of the park by the designers.
The central feature is the famous Bethesda Fountain with its Angel of the Waters statue. This statue is the only statue in the park that was specifically commissioned for the park.
The terrace and fountain get their names from the Gospel of John, where a pool called Bethesda with healing waters is referenced.
This was all dedicated in honor of the Croton Aqueduct System, the water supply system that gives New York its drinking water today.
The creation of the aqueduct was a huge leap forward in New Yorks development and it greatly reduced disease in the city and also helped decrease the number of fires in New York.
In the statue, the angel has her hand out, blessing the water for New York. The lily on her other hand represents the purity of the water.
This area is seen in dozens of films and TV shows, including Law and Order, Sex and the City, Enchanted, and Elf.
Fans of the Avengers will recognize the Terrace as the scene where they all depart from one another.
Just beyond the fountain, you cannot miss the very big and bucolic lake.
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Visit One Of The Central Park Playgrounds
Did you know that Central Park has 21 playgrounds? Many of them are perfect for visiting in the hot summer months thanks to the water sprays they include. Heckscher Playground, the southern-most playground in the park, is also the largest and oldest. This space has it all, including swings, slides, maze-like climbing structures, and a water-play area.
We recommend visiting as many of the playgrounds as you can, as they are all unique in their own way!
Closest entrance to the Heckscher Playground: 59th St. and 7th Ave.
Things To Do In Nyc: Visit A Farmer’s Market
Grow NYC strives to improve quality of life in New York City through a variety of environmental initiatives, serving as the city’s most established environmental nonprofit organization today. The organization, which was founded in 1970, hosts more than 50 Greenmarket farmer’s markets throughout the year, including a world-famous flagship location at Manhattan’s Union Square. Visitors can enjoy cooking demonstrations throughout the week by New York City’s top chefs and peruse hundreds of vendor stalls selling produce, meats, cheeses, wines and ciders, and pantry goods. Twice a week between March and December, the market hosts beer and spirits tasting popups. Other activities throughout the year include cookbook signings and education stations offering youth and adult cooking education programming.
100 Gold St #3300, New York, NY 10038, grownyc.org Phone: 788-7900
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Shakespeare In The Park
The Public Theater stages free shows during the summer in Central Parks Delacorte Theater. The lineup includes adaptations of Shakespeare and other classic plays. The cast sometimes features A-list celebs. Pre-Covid, you had to line up in the early morning hours and wait for tickets for the evening performance to be distributed. Currently, an online lottery system is in place using Goldstar.
Sail A Model Boat At Conservatory Water
From March through November, weather permitting, kids of all ages can rent a sailboat at Conservatory Water. Rentals are for 30 minutes and are first-come, first-served. No reservations are accepted. If your child is more interested in watching the model sailboats than operating one on their own, they can watch the sailboat races that occur every Saturday morning, around 10 am, during the operating season.
The boathouse also has a cafe with patio seating that serves light refreshments and also has restrooms. On the south side of Conservatory Water is a concession stand serving coffee and pastries. Bench seating is located nearby, making this area a perfect spot for a rest break and snacks.
Closest entrances to Conservatory Water: 72st St. and 5th Ave, or 76th St. and 5th Ave.
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Wander Through Shakespeare Garden
Once you enter Shakespeare Garden, you feel as though you left New York City and were transported to the English countryside. The garden features flowers and plants mentioned in Shakespeares plays, including primrose, larks heel, and cowslip. Various plaques with Shakespeares quotes, winding stone paths, and beautiful wooden benches, make this garden as magical as it is beautiful. Kids will love exploring the maze-like trails while parents take a rest!
Closest entrance to Shakespeare Garden: Central Park West across from American Museum of Natural History.