At 843 acres fabulous, Central Park is a massive mesh of sculptures, castles, and ponds that are yearning to be explored. This bustling area is a magical place that boasts both bustling hubs of activity and quiet spaces of reflection. There is so much to discover that it’s not possible to do all in one day. If you are looking for some ideas, I’ve included some of my highlights below:
Alice in Wonderland Sculpture
This sculpture is a wonderful reminder of childhood curiosity and wonder. Kids love to climb over it and explore its little nooks and crannies. There’s usually a gaggle of tourists gathered around, so you may have to wait a while to get the perfect picture, but it’s worth it. Be sure to walk around it and read the quotes from Lewis Carroll’s classic.
Hans Christian Anderson Sculpture
Located in the same area as Alice in Wonderland, the Hans Christian Anderson Sculpture pays tribute to the writer of fairytales. The little duckling is a reference to The Ugly Duckling. (The balloon will likely not be there when you go, just pointing out).
Watch the Sailboats in the Conservatory Water
Ever see Stuart Little? This is where George raced his boat! Lots of kids and families populate this area and it’s fun to watch the sailboats floating across the water. In addition, lots of benches surround the area so it’s a nice spot to sit and rest your tired feet!
Read the Quotes at the Shakespeare Garden
This charming area is named after the poet and playwright, William Shakespeare (obviously). There are rustic benches to sit down and reflect on, and the garden features flowers and plants mentioned in his poems and plays. Be sure to have a walk around to read the plaques scattered between the flowers featuring his quotes.
See the Turtles at Belvedere Castle
Right by Belvedere Castle is Turtle Pond. This pond is man-made and is home to five species of turtles. You can see them swimming peacefully or resting on the rocks. It’s pretty cool!
Float in a Row Boat Under Bow Bridge
I’ve always wanted to do this! I didn’t get around to doing it because it struck me as an activity that would be more fun to do with someone (and I was by myself) but I plan on doing it one day. And hey, if you want to do it on your own – go ahead!!
Take a Picture with Balto
Fans of the wolf-dog, Balto, should not miss taking a picture with his sculpture! “They should build a statue of him!” For those who don’t know, Balto was the sled-dog hero who saved Alaska’s children from a diphtheria epidemic when he raced over the frozen landscape to deliver medicine. “A dog can not make this journey alone, but maybe a wolf can.”
Stop and Listen to the Buskers
You are guaranteed to come across many and they are worth stopping to listen to! The picture is of a group I saw singing Amazing Grace at Bathesda Terrace. It moved me to tears; it was so beautiful. I also saw a harpist, a duo paying tribute to the Everly Brothers, and a man with a guitar singing about how Tom Cruise scares him.
Sit at the ‘Enchanted’ Fountain at Bethesda Terrace
“How does she knowwwwwww you love her?” Rising from Bethesda Terrace is Bethesda Fountain – the place I will forever lovingly refer to as”Giselle’s Fountain”. Don’t expect an overly happy princess from Andalusia to lead everyone in song however (though that would be pretty cool!)
Pay your Respects at the Imagine Tribute to John Lennon
Strawberry Fields is the home of the John Lennon tribute. It was here that John Lennon was walking when he was murdered. Just a warning that the area gets pretty crowded as everyone wants to take pictures with it!
Play Chess at the Chess and Checkers House
Nothing says good, old-fashioned fun more than a game of chess! If you don’t have your own pieces, you can borrow from the Conservancy staff. King-me!
Have a Picnic in Sheep Meadow
With green space as far as the eye can see, spread out your picnic planet and enjoy a feast!
Ride the Carousel
Doesn’t matter how old you are, Carousel’s are for everyone.
Bike Through It
Is there a greater freedom in the world than biking through Central Park with the wind blowing in your hair? Maybe, but biking through Central Park is pretty great as well. Be sure to check groupon for deals – I got a 2 hour bike ride for only $10!
Read on a Park Bench
One of the best things about Central Park is that although it is busy with activity, it is also a place of solitude. There is nothing more peaceful than taking some “me time” and relaxing for a bit with a good book.