BY JENNA BEAUCHAMP
Central Park is NYC’s backyard and has been an oasis for city dwellers now more than ever. It’s a place for kids of all ages to get out and about into the great outdoors! The Park allows us to recharge physically and mentally during these unsettling times.
There’s also great at home content which is a part of the #myCentralPark campaign launched earlier this year. This content was developed so that those who are unable to get to the Park right now can still enjoy it from afar. They have activities for kids of all ages, including coloring pages, jigsaws, meditation-videos, virtual strolls through the Park, and their very popular Weekly Walks series which is a live walk through the Park with a Conservancy tour guide.
While the Park remains open to the public, to mitigate the spread of the virus and in alignment with recommendations from public health officials, in-Park tours and public programming are on pause, and all visitor centers are closed until further notice.
Looking for more adventures around NYC? Head over to Governors Island now open for summer 2020!
In the meantime, here’s what to do in the park right now:
- The Seneca Village temporary exhibit is a great in-Park activity. The Central Park Conservancy shared that visitors can explore the history of this area like never before with Discover Seneca Village, a temporary outdoor exhibit of interpretive signage that gives visitors a glimpse into the pre-Park history and highlights decades of research about this extraordinary community. Exhibit highlights include a visit to the former locations of historic features such as homes, churches, and gardens; learn more about residents who lived in Seneca Village; and explore natural features that were a part of Seneca Village that still exist in Central Park. You can find it on the west side at 82nd Street.
- All playgrounds reopened earlier this month! From the Hecksher Playground and Ancient Playground to the recently renovated Billy Johnson and East 72nd Street Playground, and forever favorites like the Tarr-Coyne Wild West Playground and East 110th Street Playground, there are a myriad of options for active fun and endless entertainment.
- The Great Lawn, Sheep Meadow, and the North Meadow are open and for passive solitary use only. So pack your family picnic and your daydreams, frolic over and settle down in the grass.
- The Central Park Zoo opens to members on July 20 and all guests on July 24. All visitors must reserve a date-specific ticket in advance. The Central Park Zoo is home to amazing and adorable animals from all over the world like the snow leopard, red panda, and grizzly bears. The Tisch Children’s Zoo is another adventure in itself, featuring more hand-on activities like animal feedings for the younger set. Before you visit, be sure to check out what to know before you go.
- Listen to the tunes of the whimsical George Delacorte Musical Clock. As you go from the Central Park Zoo to the Tisch Children’s Zoo or play inside, this merry band of animals on the clock comes to life to play a repertoire of children’s songs and seasonal tunes. Kids will stare in amazement and dance along! It sounds off between 8 am and 6 pm, on the hour and half-hour.
- The Mall (Literary Walk) is one of our most favorite places to stroll, being surrounded by enchanting elms and leading to the Bethesda Terrace. We are overjoyed that Central Park will welcome a new monument to the Mall this summer: a statue that honors women’s rights pioneers Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. It will be the first statue in Central Park to represent an actual woman, and the first monument added to the Park since 1965.
- The Ramble is our favorite place in the park to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. We feel light years away from the city once inside the 36-acre woodland retreat. Hop, skip, and jump along meandering paths while admiring the flora and fauna. Set out on an adventure and hike with your crew while seeking to spot the 230+ bird species that frequent the area.
- Located in the northern-most reach of the Park, Harlem Meer is a glimmering lake surrounded by tons of trees. Families flock to the Meer for catch-and-release fishing, skating, swimming, or to explore nearby playgrounds.
- Visit one of the iconic bronze statues in the Park like the Alice in Wonderland statue or Hans Christian Andersen. Alice is a favorite fixture of Central Park’s storybook landscape. Whether you choose to climb on it, hide behind it, take a photo beside it, or admire it from afar, this wonderful and whimsical statue is simply delightful. Hans Christian Andersen is a statue of the beloved storybook author reading from The Ugly Duckling. It is also well-known as the site of a sensational, summer storytelling program; however, this summer is different. Pack your own books and bring your little avid reader to make your own book club and read alfresco alongside Mr. Andersen.
- Feel like you are walking through an evergreen forest as you enter the Arthur Ross Pinetum, a four-acre arboretum north of the Great Lawn. It boasts 17 species of pine trees with some being 30 feet tall. Look up and take it all in. Visitors will also find several picnic tables and the all-ages Pinetum Playground.
- Visitors can sign up for Central Park’s Summer Guide. The Central Park Conservancy shared that this free guide will enrich your summertime experience with engaging content to deepen your love for the Park and enhance your warm-weather explorations.
This story first appeared on newyorkfamily.com.