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Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock/Christopher Penler

The best things to do in Central Park with kids

Behold! Our lineup of the best things to do in Central Park with kids, including some you've never heard of...

By Allie Early, Dorkys Ramos and Danielle Valente

Central Park is NYC's backyard, and we wouldn't have it any other way. The luscious greens and bucolic scenes are irresistible for natives and visitors alike. Plus, the venue packs a busy calendar—the list of things to do in Central Park are just as lengthy as the actual grounds. 

Bringing the whole family for a visit? You're in luck. Between the zoo, one of the many playgrounds, a Marionette theater and so much more, youngsters will never want to leave...and you might not, either. 

What are you waiting for? The best activities in Central Park kids love make for the perfect outing. Meet us at the Great Lawn for a picnic! 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to outdoor activities for kids in NYC

Looking for more ways to enjoy New York with your crew? Take a trip to a few family attractions, grab a bite at the best outdoor restaurants NYC has to offer and top off the day with dessert at one of the most delicious ice cream shops for kids.  

Best activities in Central Park kids love

Hans Christian Andersen statue

Attractions Monuments and memorials Central Park

Take the little ones to see the statue of the beloved author just west of Conservatory Water. You’ll find the man behind such children’s classics, including The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling, sitting on a bench with an open book reading to a little duckling at his feet. Central Park serves as a gorgeous backdrop for outdoor storytimes, so you and your kiddos would be remiss to skip out on these wonderful Saturday reading hours from June–September beginning at 11am. 

Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock/Ondrej Prosicky

North Meadow Butterfly Gardens

Enter this gorgeous, floral retreat and let little ones explore the different species of butterflies that make their way into Manhattan each year. Central Park is home to so many beautiful scenes, and this is certainly one you won't want to miss. 


Harlem Meer

Attractions Parks and gardens Central Park

Head to the northern part of Central Park for catch-and-release fishing at the Harlem Meer (Dutch for “lake”). Families can borrow fishing rods at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center before trying their luck on the lake. Come fall, families can catch the Halloween Pumpkin Flotilla make its way across the meer, and in the winter, bring the whole crew to enjoy the festive Holiday Lighting.

Wollman Rink

Things to do Ice skating Midtown West

If you decide to check out this famed rink, be prepared for slow-moving skaters (it’s perfect for newbies and there’s even a program for first-time skaters). There won’t be room for speed skating or fancy tricks, but braving the crowds is worth it for the priceless Central Park scenery. The rink also hosts birthday parties, youth and adult figure skating programs, hockey games and more.


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