An Awesome Day in New York City - Things to Do in Southern Central Park

Things to do with Kids in Central Park, NYC

I know it is lame to write about having an awesome day in Central Park but the park has been host to just so many fun filled summer days for me and my son that I find it difficult to think of anyplace else.  Like any other day I still have a plan and an itinerary, because if you don’t, the park is so huge you could wind up wandering too far in one direction or another to get home easily. Read on for the deets on one of the many awesome days in and around Central Park, and then go have one for yourself.

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I like to enter the park on East Drive near Fifth Avenue, this portion of the park was once known as the Children’s District because it was the only part of the park where the kids were allowed to play and today there is still so much to do here.  We normally start out at the zoo, since we go there quite often we don’t need to spend all day there – just a quick walk around to check out the animals – leaving us with a good half day free afterwards.  
After the zoo we head west to the Chess and Checkers House.  This is such a great little treat after walking around the sweltering zoo, the overhead fans keep it cool inside while the open architecture of the building lets you feel like you are still outside.  Take in a quick (or not so quick) game of chess, checkers, Chinese checkers or backgammon while regrouping and reenergizing before your next adventure.  If you or your children aren’t into strategy games you can get balls and other sports equipment (with an ID) to take out on the nearby lawns for play.

I try to stop and eat a quick picnic lunch on the lawn around Umpire Rock before our next stop. Occasionally we will grab something to eat at the Ball Players House on the Heckscher Ball Fields.  

Our next stop is either a quick ride on the carousel or going wild at the fantastic Heckscher playground.  The playground has recently been redone and is just amazing.  It is a destination for nearly everyone in town so it gets crowded but the kids never seem to mind and there is plenty of room. The playground has everything:  swings, water features, climbing, running areas and the ground is that new soft material so falls don’t hurt. The climbing structures look like pyramids with lots of cool tunnels, bridges and outlooks connecting them.  Since my son can stay here for hours I like that there is also plenty of seating for me and pretty clean bathrooms.

I try to make the playground the final stop of the day since it is difficult to get him to leave when he is having fun, even for a game of checkers or a ride on the carousel, and its convenient mid-park location makes it easy for a quick get away to the street for the return trip home.

Depending on the time, my mood, my son’s behavior and the weather, we sometimes make a pit stop at Dylan’s Candy Bar for ice cream on our way to the subway.  It is always fun to get samples of cotton candy and pancakes with syrup flavored ice cream to taste before making your final decision.

More summer time activities in New York City can be had in our Mommy Poppins Summer Fun Guide.


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