No trip to New York City can be complete without spending some time with the locals in New York City’s “Shared Backyard”, Central Park, now celebrating its 161st birthday. There is much more to Central Park than meets the eye! Spanning 843 acres, there are fun activities hiding behind every nook & cranny. The famous park has been featured in over 300 films, which makes it the most filmed location in the world.
Boating & Gondola Rides
Grab your oars! During the warmer months of April – November, the Loeb Boathouse offers rowboats and Gondola rides to park goers. Weather permitting, boats are rented from 10am – 6pm daily. Enjoy the second largest lake in Central Park. You’ll be able to get a closer view of egrets, herons and loons that you might not see from land. Reservations are recommended because there are only 100 rowboats available and 1 Venetian Gondola with gondolier, Andres Garcia. Prices vary from $15.00 per hour for rowboats, or $30.00 per half hour for Gondola rides. Arrivederci!
Central Park Carousel
The beautiful Central Park Carousel is over 100 years old! Though, Central Park was not its first residence. In 1950, the carousel was found abandoned in Coney Island, Brooklyn. After careful care and maintenance, it replaced the old steam-powered carousel that existed in its place before. All 57 hand carved horses and 2 chariots are unique and special. They make up one of the nation’s largest carousels. Open daily from April – October (and sometimes in the winter months on warm days), you can enjoy this classic for $3. per ride. The carousel starts whirling at 10am and keeps going until 6pm.
On October 9, 1995, Strawberry Fields was dedicated to John Lennon, which would have been his 45th Birthday. While you relax or meditate in this designated “quiet zone” you can almost “Imagine” John Lennon looking down at you from his apartment at the Dakota. Yoko Ono worked with landscape architect Bruce Kelly to create a place of reflection, mediation and a celebration of John Lennon’s life. The stunning black and white mosaic was gifted to Central Park by the City of Naples. Beautiful flowers bloom in the spring and summer months, but on any given day you can find flowers from Lennon fans laying along the mosaic. This is certainly a place that can take your breath away and make you realize that there is “nothing to get hung about”.
Central Park Zoo
From snow leopards to dart poison frogs, the Central Park Zoo has various species of mammals, birds and amphibians from an assortment of climates. You can see birds in the steamy rain forest or penguins in an icy Antarctic habitat. A lot of people of all ages enjoy this beautiful and well kept zoo because of its small size. You can see almost everything within 2 hours. With 8 exhibits and attractions including a 4-D theater, a sea lion pool, and a children’s zoo that allows for feeding the animals, you’re sure to find something you love. Admission to the zoo covers access to both zoos and cost about $13.00 for children and $18.00 for adults. If you buy your tickets online before you go, you can save a few dollars on each ticket.
Overlooking the Great Lawn, the miniature castle was built in 1869 as a serene place to look out and enjoy the rest of the park. Belvedere translates to “beautiful view” in Italian, and we definitely think it’s deserving of its name. Many visitors suggest making the climb to the very top to get a view of the Great Lawn, Delacorte Theater, Turtle Pond and the Ramble. In 1983, the castle was renovated and reopened. The National Weather Service takes weather measurements from here including rain fall and wind speed and direction.
The map below will help you find all of these gems plus so much more. Next time you are at the Hotel Elysee, make sure to make the most of your Central Park visit by booking the Picnic in the Park package. We look forward to seeing you soon.
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