For our upcoming trip to New York City (NYC), one of the stops that is definitely on our to-do list is visiting Central Park. We plan to spend at least half a day, if not a full day here. To plan for this part of the itinerary, I asked the kids what to come up with 20 questions they have and we will research and come up with the answers to them.
- Q: Where is Central Park located?
A: Central Park is located in New York City (NYC), in the heart of Manhattan. The exact streets that border the Park are North 110th Street and Central Park South (59th Street), and Central Park West (8th Avenue) and 5th Ave.
- Q: Is Central Park free?
A: Yes it’s free. It’s been free since 1858. That’s great for families with kids (and everyone) as we can save up some money for other activities.
- Q: When was Central Park opened?
A: The winter of 1859 was when Central Park first opened to the public. That winter thousands of New Yorkers skated on lakes built on what was previously swamps.
- Q: How many people visit Central Park each year?
A: A whopping 25 million people visit the park every year. The four of us will be adding to that figure.
- Q: Why is Central Park famous?
A: Central Park is very big and is one of the most iconic urban parks in the world. It is also a green oasis in the heart of one of the busiest metropolitan cities. It was designed by famous landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.
It also has a lot of kid-friendly activities, including the Central Park Zoo and a number of playgrounds which makes it very popular with families with kids.
- Q: You said Central Park is very big. How big?
A: 3.41km2, 840 aces, or 340 hectares.
- Q: That sounds big. So just how many miles around Central Park?
A: A full loop around Central Park is 6.1 miles. This is the “big loop” that runs along the Park Drives on the West and East side. There is a “shorter loop” that cuts across 104th Street that is 5.2 miles long.
- Q: How long does it take to walk across Central Park?
A: If we are not stopping, walking across Central Park from 5th Ave to 8th Ave can be done 15 minutes.
- Q: We want to see everything in Central Park but we don’t want to walk the whole way. How should we get around Central Park?
A: Families with young kids may find it difficult to walk the entire loop around Central Park in one day. Renting a bike (either kid’s own bike, or with a kid trailer or tandem bike) to see Central Park can let you see more of the Park in a short amount of time. But there are certain paths and parts of the Park where bikes are restricted. Then you would have to get off and walk the bikes. It’s best to look at a map of Central Park in further detail and plan which parts make sense for biking and which parts should be walked.
- Q: So how long to cycle around Central Park?
A: Well, the total distance of the Full Loop is 6.1 miles. Most people would take 45 minutes to 60 minutes if you bike the full loop. But I would plan a bit more time for families with kids, for stops at different spots to take pictures and rest.
- Q: How do we get to Central Park from Times Square?
A: It takes about 15 minutes walk to get to the south tip of Central Park along 7th Ave, so it is definitely walkable, even for kids.
- Q: But if we aren’t heading to Central Park from our hotel, then how to get to Central Park by subway?
A: There are quite a few subway stops around Central Park area. N R and W trains stop at 59th street; 2 and 3 trains would stop at Central Park North and 110th St; A, B, C and D and 1 trains all stop at 59th Street and Columbus Circle.It’s best we finalize our itinerary first, then use Google Maps to get directions.
- Q: Does Central Park have a main entrance, or where to enter Central Park?
A: The Park has a number of entrances so it depends on where you are coming from and what you want to see. If you are coming from Central Park from Times Square, entering the Park from the south side near 5th Ave you will be close to the must-see sights of Gapstow Bridge and Wollman Rink and of course the Central Park Zoo. This makes the south east corner of Central Park a popular section for families with kids.
- Q: Where to park for Central Park?
A: If you must drive, there is metered parking along the east and west sides of Central Park. Be sure to check signage before parking. And it is not guaranteed that you will find a spot when you need to. You may want to check out reserve parking services to secure a parking spot before hand.
- Q: How many lakes in Central Park?
A: The park has seven lakes and ponds that have been created artificially by damming natural seeps and flows.
- Q: But I hear there’s “The Lake.” What is the name of “The Lake” in Central Park? How big is the Lake in Central Park?
A: This 20-acre lake is called the Lake. It was made from swamps and you can boat in the summer and ice skate in the winter.
- Q: How many bridges are there in Central Park?
A: Depends on what you consider to be a bridge, Central Park has over 40 bridges and arches. One of the better known and longest bridges is Bow Bridge.
- Q: Where is the Bow Bridge in Central Park?
A: Bow Bridge is located over the Lake, connecting The Ramble and Cherry Hill.
- Q: Is there a golf course in Central Park New York?
A: Even though it probably can fit one or two, there is no golf course in Central Park. It is not from lack of trying from two financiers in 2017. “The City is not considering such a proposal, which would not only take away a vast amount of green space enjoyed by millions of New Yorkers and visitors every year, but would also significantly alter this crown jewel of our parks system and national historic landmark,” a spokesperson from the mayor’s office said.
- Q: What kind of trees are in Central Park?
A: Out of the over 150 species and approximately 20,000 trees in Central Park, here are the species in the 3 main areas:North Woods: Black Cherry, Pin Oak, Red Oak, Scarlet Oak, Red Maple and American Elm trees; Conservatory Garden: Crabapple, Stewartia and Star Magnolia trees; North Meadow: Hickory, Sugar Maple and Flowering Dogwood trees.
Getting around Central Park