MauiBot (crawler.feedback+wc@gmail.com) NYC: Exploring Central Park with the Family NYC: Exploring Central Park with the Family
2 comment1
$$$

ITINERARY (Full Day)

Grand Army PlazaStroller friendly

The Pond in Central Park

Victorian Gardens and Wollman RinkBathroomChanging tableStroller friendlyKid’s menu

Central Park Carousel

Ballfields CaféStroller friendlyKid’s menu

Bethesda Fountain and Terrace

Loeb Boathouse Row BoatsBathroom

Conservatory Water Remote Boat RentalsBathroom

nugget’s Advice

Prepare in advance
Prepare in advance

Central Park itself incorporates nearly 850 acres of space; however, this adventure will concentrate on the south side of the park.

Good to know
Good to know

Certain activities, such as the Central Park Carousel and food vendors, only accept cash. There are a few ATMs in the park; however, they are difficult to find. Bring cash along so you do not take away time from your experience by having to locate one.

Recommended day/time
Recommended day/time

The park is busiest on weekends. Yet, due to the immense size of the park, there is always enough space to find your own quiet place.

Recommended time of the year
Recommended time of the year

The park is gorgeous in any season. Of course, a rainy day would not be best for the tour. Note that some of the items listed are seasonal (see each specific listing for more info).

Save Money
Save Money

Victorian Gardens (amusement park) and Wollman Rink (ice rink) are pricey. Sometimes Groupon offers coupons to these, check the site before going.

About This Day

Looking for things to do in Central Park? Well, to begin, it is one of the top attractions in New York City and is beloved by tourists and local families alike. There is a magic to Central Park that cannot be described. The gorgeous 800 acres of green space in the middle of the city is much more than just a pretty nature oasis. So grab a good pair of walking shoes and head out on an adventure to explore the most visited urban park in the country. This green playground in the city has an endless array of things to see and experience for children and adults. Read on to find out the fun to be discovered, as we go on a walking itinerary adventure with the family. Begin your Central Park activities at the Grand Army Plaza, then stop off at The Pond for some great views. Next, depending on the season, visit Victorian Gardens or Wollman Rink. Moving on, hop on the Central Park Carousel and grab some well-earned food at Ballfields Café. Next, watch the local artists and peruse the handicrafts of the artisans at Bethesda Fountain and Terrace. Lastly, finish the day with some boats at the Loeb Boathouse Rowboats and Conservatory Water Remote Boat Rentals. A full day of fun and excitement on this itinerary in New York with kids.

 

  • : Nature lovers

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  • 16 / 04 / 2018 By Darla

    This is such a great itinerary and not too pricey for nyc. Planning to take our 5 and 8 yr old there for the first time si this is perfect!! Thanks!

Grand Army Plaza
1

Grand Army Plaza

71507 Central Park South, New York
FREE
Stroller friendly
Grand Army Plaza feels very “New York." Horse-drawn carriages line the side of the area, and directly south is the world renown Plaza Hotel. This is a great start to your Central Park activities with kids. There is a gorgeous water fountain perfect for pictures and plenty of hotdog and pretzel food vendors for hungry children. This plaza is also right next to 5th Avenue and only blocks from world class shopping. Our family always stops a moment to take in the scene. A park could just look like a park in many cities, but by entering Central Park with a scene like this, you are undoubtedly in New York City.
DIRECTIONS Located on 5th Avenue and 60th Street, you can easily access this corner with the N-R-W train, just get off on the 5th Avenue/59th Street exit. This subway stop practically places you in the park.
TIP Need a bathroom break? Head to the lower level of the Plaza Hotel. The bathrooms here are nice and clean. A bonus, the famous Eloise shop is located on the lower level, conveniently close to the bathrooms.
The Pond in Central Park
2

The Pond in Central Park

Gapstow Bridge, New York
FREE
The next stop on this New York with kids itinerary is a gorgeous body of water in Central Park known as The Pond. It offers some of the prettiest sights in the park. Look for some flat rocks near the shore and (carefully) climb out to them to say hi to a duck or turtle friend and gaze at the stone bridge. To your right is a massive boulder, you can easy climb this rock from the other side (there is a surprisingly easy path) to get to the top. The view from this is one that is breathtaking and one you have surely seen on Instagram.
DIRECTIONS Walk from Grand Army Plaza right behind the carriage horse line up to find a small entrance into Central Park. This entrance will bring you down a small hill (there are a few steps) and down to a small body of water called The Pond.
TIP Caution is needed of course for any sort of rock climbing, but the rocks are quite flat and safe, our 4-year-old was able to navigate them with no issues. In the past, we have left our stroller at the base of the boulder and it was still there when we returned. However, it is New York, remember any time you leave an item alone that it may not be there when you return.
Victorian Gardens and Wollman Rink
3

Victorian Gardens and Wollman Rink

Gapstow Bridge, New York
$$$
BathroomChanging tableStroller friendlyKid’s menu
Victorian Gardens is a seasonal amusement park that is set up in the southern portion of Central Park. It is typically open from late spring through fall, and is best for younger children aged 4-10. During the winter months, the space transforms into Wollman Rink, which is an ice-skating rink with gorgeous views of the city. Both are wonderful activities for children and adults in Central Park.
DIRECTIONS Continue past The Pond, walking just past Galspow Bridge. From this vantage point you should be able to see Victorian Gardens clearly. Continue on down the hill toward the amusement area.
TIP Both Victorian Gardens and Wollman Rink have pricey admission. Note that you can purchase tickets with a credit card for these attractions, however, all other purchases (food or drink) only accept cash for some reason. If you don’t want to enter the amusement park/ice rink, there is an open grill on the upper terrace and it’s a perfect spot for a food break.
Central Park Carousel
4

Central Park Carousel

1802 65th Street Transverse, New York
$$$
The Central Park carousel has 57 horses, is the fourth to stand in Central Park since 1871. It is one of Central Park’s most popular attractions for families.
DIRECTIONS Walk north from Victorian Gardens/Wollman Rink to find the carousel. Through this path you will pass Heckschler Playground, the largest playground in Central Park. This playground has a bathroom if needed, and a good stop for a break. Continue north and you will see the Central Park Carousel on the left hand side, just down a bit of a hill.
TIP Tickets to the carousel are $3.00 each (cash only), and everyone who enters the carousel needs a ticket. The carousel does not have a bathroom. Weather permitting, there is a small food cart stationed in front of the carousel that often sells small toys as well.
Ballfields Café
5

Ballfields Café

1802 65th Street Transverse, New York
$$$
Stroller friendlyKid’s menu
Named after the baseball fields that sit directly in front of it, Ballfields Café is a hidden gem in Central Park. The menu offers everything from salads, sandwiches, hot dogs, snacks and a selection of beer and wine for mom and dad. A well-earned food or drink break on your Central Park itinerary.
DIRECTIONS Located next to the carousel and next to the baseball fields.
TIP Note the restaurant is seasonal and all seats are outdoors, but it does offer umbrellas for shade. It is a sit-down restaurant with table service. Ballfields Café does not have on-site restrooms, best to plan accordingly before arriving.
Bethesda Fountain and Terrace
6

Bethesda Fountain and Terrace

307 The Mall, New York
FREE
The gorgeous arched walkways of Bethesda Terrace that lead to the magnificent Bethesda Fountain are a must-see while visiting Central Park with kids. This area has long been a gathering place for New Yorkers and tourists alike. The terrace and fountain have stunning views of The Lake, the boathouse and the rowboats. If the entire scene feels like it’s straight out of a movie, you wouldn’t be wrong. This magical area of the park has been featured in countless shows and films, and it is as incredible as it sounds. During a typical visit you are almost guaranteed to see a bubble maker, opera star, dance troupe performing or a wedding party taking in the area’s beauty. People watching here is at its best.
DIRECTIONS Walk north and a bit east to locate the famous Bethesda Terrace and Fountain. It’s about a 15-minute walk, but a beautiful one at that. If possible, walk north up the popular walking path known as The Mall and catch the incredible performers and artisans selling their goods. The Mall leads directly to the fountain.
TIP Our son loves the bubble artists who frequently perform and create large-scale bubbles at the base of the fountain. Watching children chase after these bubbles is magical and a right of passage for NYC kids. Be aware, while these activities are free, the artists and performers are expecting a tip if you partake in their activities.
Loeb Boathouse Row Boats
7

Loeb Boathouse Row Boats

72 East 72nd Street, New York
$$$
Bathroom
The penultimate stop on your Central Park activities with kids itinerary is The Loeb Boathouse. It is a lakeside restaurant, outside bar, express café, as well as a rowboat rental house on The Lake in Central Park. It’s a great stop for a quick bite to eat, a bathroom break, or most importantly, to rent a rowboat. The row boats here are so much fun and the views of Central Park and the NYC skyline from the lake are breathtaking. Boats are $15 per hour (cash only), $4 for each additional 15 minutes with a $20 cash deposit. Each boat holds up to 4 people. The Loeb Boathouse will provide life jackets. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Weather permitting, a fleet of 100 rowboats are available for rent from 10 a.m. till sundown.
DIRECTIONS The Loeb Boathouse is just a few steps from Bethesda Terrace. Simply follow the path and head east, you will run directly into it.
TIP The row boats are popular and sometimes (especially on perfect weather days) the line is long. Hungry? There are a couple of options. The main/inside restaurant is quite luxurious, you will need reservations and prices are very expensive. Need something quick? Grab a bite to eat at the express café that offers both inside and outside dining.
Conservatory Water Remote Boat Rentals
8

Conservatory Water Remote Boat Rentals

2 East 74th Street, New York
$$$
Bathroom
The remote boat rentals are $11 plus tax, for 30 minutes. The boats are first-come, first-serve. With only a handful of boats for rent, the wait can become quite long.
DIRECTIONS After exiting the boathouse walk straight, either down the hill or through the arched tunnel if you prefer, to the Remote Control Boats and the Conservatory Water, which is located directly at the bottom of the hill. The walk is very short and will take only a couple of minutes.
TIP Upon arrival, walk straight to the rental area and have your name placed on the list. During beautiful weather expect the wait to be over an hour. Good news though, there is a café that serves sandwiches snacks, wine and beer adjacent to the rental counter, with bathrooms as well.

Leave a Reply

  • 16 / 04 / 2018 By Darla

    This is such a great itinerary and not too pricey for nyc. Planning to take our 5 and 8 yr old there for the first time si this is perfect!! Thanks!