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Central Park: Guide to family attractions, playgrounds and events

A complete guide to Central Park, including playgrounds and family attractions, from the carousel to the the Central Park Zoo.

 (Photograph: Virginia Rollison)
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Photograph: Virginia Rollison

Central Park: The Mall

 (Photograph: The Central Park Conservancy)
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Photograph: The Central Park Conservancy

Central Park: North Woods

 (Photograph: Central Park Conservancy)
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Photograph: Central Park Conservancy

Central Park: Belvedere Castle

 (Photograph: Courtesy of Central Park Conservancy)
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Photograph: Courtesy of Central Park Conservancy

Central Park: Friedsam Memorial Carousel

 (Photograph: Julie Larsen Maher)
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Photograph: Julie Larsen Maher

Central Park: Snow monkey at the Central Park Zoo

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Central Park: Sea lion at the Central Park Zoo

 (Photograph: Julie Larsen Maher)
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Photograph: Julie Larsen Maher

Central Park: Tisch Children's Zoo the Central Park Zoo

 (Photograph: Courtesy Central Park Conservancy)
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Photograph: Courtesy Central Park Conservancy

Central Park: Charles A. Dana Discovery Center

 (Photograph: City Parks Foundation)
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Photograph: City Parks Foundation

Central Park: Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater

 (Photograph: Gary Gershoff)
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Photograph: Gary Gershoff

Central Park: Victorian Gardens

 

 

 (Photograph: Beth Levendis)
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Photograph: Beth Levendis

Central Park: Trump Wollman Rink

 (Photograph: Gaby Dressler)
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Photograph: Gaby Dressler

Central Park: Ancient Playground

 (Photograph: Lindsay Maclean Taylor)
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Photograph: Lindsay Maclean Taylor

Central Park: Billy Johnson Playground

 (Photograph: Gaby Dressler)
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Photograph: Gaby Dressler

Central Park: East 72nd Street Playground

 (Photograph: Lindsay Maclean Taylor)
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Photograph: Lindsay Maclean Taylor

Central Park: Heckscher Playground

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Central Park: Diana Ross Playground

 

 (Photograph: Virginia Rollison)
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Photograph: Virginia Rollison

Central Park: Bethesda Fountain

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Central Park: Conservatory Garden

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Central Park: Strawberry Fields

 

 

 (Photograph: Sara Cedar Miller/Central Park Conservancy)
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Photograph: Sara Cedar Miller/Central Park Conservancy

Central Park: Alice in Wonderland Statue

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Central Park: Hans Christian Andersen Statue

 (Photograph: Dominic Perri)
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Photograph: Dominic Perri

Central Park: Summer Stage Family Day

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Central Park: Harlem Meer Performance Festival

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Central Park: My Dog Loves Central Park Fair

 (Photograph courtesy Central Park Conservancy)
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Photograph courtesy Central Park Conservancy

Central Park: Autumn

 

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Central Park: Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail

 

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Central Park: Holiday Lighting

 

 

 (Photograph: Marielle Solan)
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Photograph: Marielle Solan

Central Park: Winter Jam 2013

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Central Park: Summer author reading

Even Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted would be astonished at the staying power of their 1860s creation, which is arguably the most beloved tourist attraction in New York City. A historic carousel, a small zoo with a separate, excellent petting zoo, and a beautiful ice-skating rink–cum–amusement park alone make Central Park worth a visit, and that’s just in its southernmost six blocks. Even for families on a strict budget, Central Park is a boon, sporting a fairy tale castle where kids can borrow a field kit, a nature center where they can practice catch-and-release fishing, treasured spots like Bethesda Fountain and the Egyptian obelisk, and some of the best playgrounds in the city, including one with a 45-foot marble slide that teaches kids that good things are worth waiting for. Best of all, though, Central Park offers city children a taste of the country, oxygenated air, countless trees and expansive grass lawns included.

RECOMMENDED: 50 best family attractions in NYC

How to support Central Park: You can help maintain the urban oasis by visiting centralparknyc.org.

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