New York City's Central Park for Kids
Central Park is home to attractions that kids cannot see anywhere else. From the favorite Alice in Wonderland Statue, to the Marionette Theater and the Park's 21 playgrounds, every child will be entertained. Best of all, most of the attractions in the park are free. While Central Park is very popular on weekends, it is quite empty during the week which makes it a great escape for the whole family.
Older kids may like to visit the Great Lawn to watch a variety of sports on weekends. In the summer you can rent a boat at the Central Park Boathouse and enjoy spectacular views of the city. Read our Best New York City vacation ideas and travel tips.
1. Central Park playgrounds
The 21 Central Park playgrounds offer a wide variety of playing equipment. The playgrounds are located all over the park, so no matter where you are staying you can take your kids out to play. One of the biggest playgrounds is located at the south end of the Park near the Wollman Rink and the Time Warner Center where you can stop for an inexpensive lunch at Whole Foods, a giant store in the basement of the building.
2. Central Park Zoo
The Central Park Zoo is a favorite with young visitors who come there to watch polar bears, monkeys, penguins and sea lions. A separate petting zoo lets kids get to know tame animals from up close. Be sure not to miss the famous Balto statue which is situated on the path leading north from the Zoo.
3. Balto the Dog
4. Alice in Wonderland
Located at the northern end of Conservatory Water, the Alice in Wonderland statue features characters from Lewis Carroll's 1865 classic tale Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
5. Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater
Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater houses a small children's theater and design workshops.
6. Hans Christian Andersen
7. Central Park Carousel
The vintage Central Park Carousel features 58 hand-carved painted horses and is one of the largest in the United States.
8. Model boat pond
Inspired by model boat ponds of Paris, Conservatory Water is a large pond where radio-powered model boat races take place between members of the Model Yacht Club.
9. Mother Goose Statue
The granite Mother Goose statue is located at East 71st Street in New York City's Central Park. A fun sculpture for kids, Mother Goose by Frederick George Richard Roth was placed in Central Park in 1938 after it was donated by the City of New York. The granite statue is located at East 71st Street.
Mother Goose is shown flying on her oversized goose against the wind. The sculpture includes other characters: Humpty Dumpty, Little Jack Horner and Little Bo Peep.
10. The Falconer
The Falconer is a bronze statue located at mid-Park on south side of the 72nd Street Drive. The statue shows a human figure holding a falcon high up in the air. The falcon is depicted with its wings spread wide apart. The Falconer was created by George Blackall Simonds in 1875. There are several other statues located nearby. Mother Goose Statue is located at East 71st Street, Balto at East Drive and 67th Street, and Alice in Wonderland at 74th Street near Fifth Avenue.
11. Wollman Skating Rink
At the Wollman Rink, you can rent skates and glide on the ice surrounded by the New York City skyline and upbeat music. The atmosphere is especially romantic at night and during the winter holiday season.
Located in the southern part of Central Park at East Side between 62nd and 63rd Streets, the Wollman Rink offers ice skating from November through March. 4,000 visitors use the rink every day, and many more come there just for the view of the New York City skyline. For more information about the Wollman Rink hours and fees, call 212-439-6900.
If you need more information about Central Park, the Visitor Information Center is situated just to the north of the rink. You can pick up a list of current Park events, or purchase a guidebook in the Gift Shop.
12. The Central Park Visitor Center in the Dairy
The Central Park Visitor Center is housed in the Dairy, a 19th century Swiss chalet with Gothic touches. The visitor center, open from 10 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Sunday, features a permanent exhibit about the history of Central Park, and a gift shop. From the Dairy loggia, visitors can see the Wollman Rink and the New York City skyline. You can also pick up a list of current Park events and programs, including free concerts in the summer and various programs for kids. Nearby attractions include the Central Park Zoo, the Central Park Carousel, and the statue of Balto.