When planning a trip to New York City, you cannot miss visiting Central Park. Known as America’s first major landscaped public park, it takes up over 840 acres of land, it has appeared in over 240 movies, and it is home to an abundance of fun activities and natural scenic spots. Below are several family-friendly features of Central Park that you can take advantage of while you are there!
Some people may associate all of New York with busy traffic and urban noises, but there is so much to explore beyond that. Throughout Central Park, there are many areas that focus on elements of nature and the natural beauty of New York. You can choose to walk around on the trails through the trees and over the bridges for yourself, or seek out specific locations that are filled with natural beauty. The Hallett Nature Sanctuary is described as a peaceful haven a few feet away from the busiest paths. It is one of the park’s three woodland areas, supporting a diverse and healthy ecosystem full of thriving native plants and wildlife. However, there are no dogs, strollers, or bicycles permitted in this area of the park, so you must plan around these facts.
The Conservatory Garden takes up six acres and is divided into three smaller gardens with distinct styles (Italian, French, and English). It is an official “Quiet Zone,” offering a peaceful and beautiful setting for photography, reading, strolling, etc. The Shakespeare Garden takes up four acres and features flowers and other plants that Williams Shakespeare mentioned in his poems and plays. Each type of plant has a plaque with his works’ quotes that reference the flora. There is also a pond and a few waterfalls in addition to much more natural sights that everyone will enjoy throughout the park!
Art and Performance
There is always something related to the arts going on in Central Park–outdoor concerts, book readings, fairs, plays, and historical figure statues. This summer, the park is holding several antiques, crafts, and collectibles fairs featuring live music entertainment while fair-goers shop around. It is a great opportunity to pick up a meaningful souvenir made by locals! Good Morning America has a summer concert series every year in which multiple popular artists perform on the SummerStage in Central Park and admission is free. You are also apt to encounter a local artist (or several) busking in different areas from day-to-day.
You also cannot miss Free Shakespeare in the Park! Central Park has a public theater that is accessible and relevant to all people, putting on performances of a couple different William Shakespeare plays each year. You may even catch your favorite actor in one–Al Pacino, Anne Hathaway, and Sam Waterston all played a part or two.
Central Park has myriad touring methods, including horse and carriage, bicycle, pedicab, and fitness and running. However, perhaps the most fulfilling of Central Park tours are the ones that involve talking a nice, relaxed walk through several destinations. A tour guided by real New Yorkers will ensure that you get to see more than you could find on your own in a shorter amount of time, leaving you more time for other activities and explorations. A guided tour will also educate you on the history of the park and its installations as well as trivia about all of the films shot in its various locations.
Classes and Workshops
In addition to everything else, you can take different kinds of classes and workshops, depending on the hobbies you are interested in. If you like to exercise, you can take a fitness class like yoga, pilates, or running. If you are more into less active or creative hobbies, you can sign up for a beekeeping class or an outdoor photography workshop. The park even has several events throughout the year dedicated to educating kids and families about keeping the environment clean and healthy.
Now that you have some ideas of the endless possibilities that Central Park has to offer, you can start planning your trip right away! You can experience an incredible, rich culture and beautiful landscaping that does not involve the loud, bustling nature of New York City itself.