If the kids need to run off some energy, visit one of the park’s 21 playgrounds. A few favorites include the Safari Playground (west side at 91st Street), with its hippo statues; the Ancient Playground (east side at 85th Street), which features pyramids and a climbable water structure; and the Tarr Family Playground (west side at 100th Street) where kids can explore a maze, net climber, and water features.
Forget about indoor rinks, Wollman Rink is the best place to skate in the winter. From November to March, families can lace up and skate on more than 33,000 square feet of ice outside.
In late May, Wollman Rink is transformed into Victorian Garden Amusement Park, which boasts 12 charming rides and many carnival games.
SummerStage, Central Park’s biggest annual event, runs from mid-May to early October. Although the summer concert series takes place in parks across all five boroughs, the bigger acts play on Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield.
Budding thespians will love Shakespeare in the Park, which presents free performances of The Bard’s works throughout the summer at the open-air Delacorte Theater (west side at 81st Street). Free tickets are given away on the day of each Shakespeare in the Park performance, but they go fast! You might need to hop in line as early as 6am to secure yours.
Book lovers may recognize the Conservatory Water (east side from 72nd to 75th streets) from the book and 1999 film Stuart Little. Racing toy boats during the summer is a favorite pastime of kids across the city (boats are available for rental at the nearby Kerbs Memorial Boathouse).
Address: 59th Street to 110th Street between Fifth Avenue and Central Park West
Hours: 6am-1am; individual buildings, attractions, and fields vary
Admission: FREE; individual buildings, attractions, and fields vary
For more information: 212-310-6600 or centralparknyc.org