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For more than 150 years New Yorkers and visitors to the city alike have enjoyed strolling through Central Park, a green oasis in a concrete maze.
There is much to do, apart from enjoying a picnic in the sun and giving weary feet a rest from all that sightseeing!
Central Park Zoo offers families with children and anyone who loves animals the chance to get close to wildlife, while being in the middle of one of the world’s largest cities. For little ones there is a petting zoo and for older children there are climbing activities, interactive exhibits and various performances throughout the day.
The best way to get to the zoo is to enter at 5th Avenue south of 65th Street; the nearest subways are train lines N/R/W to 59th Street and 5th Avenue or train F to 63rd Street and Lexington. The entrance for Tisch Children’s Zoo is located between 65th and 66th Streets, just off 5th Avenue. A ticket costs $7 for children and $12 for grown ups, but does include both zoos.
Bird watching is a favourite pastime for Central Park visitors, who can lose themselves in the 843 acres of grass and woodland. There are even lakes with boating facilities for young and old pirates! Loeb’s Boathouse provides rowing boats for around $10 per hour, but for more sophisticated tastes there are gondolas, which can be hired for $30 for 30 minutes.
Boating enthusiasts of a different kind can be found at Conservatory Water on Central Park’s east side (accessed via 72nd and 75th Streets). Here visitors will not only find the Alice in Wonderland statue and, if they’re lucky, see the local red-tailed hawk, but tourists can also join the spectators and watch model motor and sail boats compete against each other.
Since the 1950s the historic carousel, which once graced a terminal trolley outside Coney Island, has been the joy of child-visitors coming to Central Park. The beautiful carousel is hand painted and can be found in the centre of the park. It usually operates from 10 am until dusk.
During the spring and summer there are many events being staged in Central Park, from classical music concerts to Shakespeare’s plays, entertainment is guaranteed! The Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic orchestra are just two of the regular visitors performing at Central Park. Tickets to the Shakespeare plays are free – but it is possible to beat the queues by making a tax-deductible donation and become a summer sponsor instead.
For a more energetic way to explore Central Park visitors can join a guided bike tour, which allows them to see the most important parts of the park in just two hours. This is a good option for fairly fit cyclists, as the park is rather hilly. The tour guides are very knowledgeable about the history of this wonderful park. Bikers must follow the cycle routes and are not permitted to ride on the paths reserved for walkers. The bike tours start at Broadway and 58th Street. The closest subway is via line 1 or trains A/B/C to 59th Street and Columbus Circle.
At John F Kennedy Airport visitors should head to terminal 4’s AirTrain platforms and take an AirTrain to either Grand Central Station or Pennsylvania Station to join subway trains from there.