Central Park is the most famous park in New York City as well as being one of the most famous parks in the entire world. The first landscaped park in the United States, Central Park was designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux and took over 20,000 workers to complete. The park was opened to the public in 1857.
Since its opening, Central Park has grown to include 840 acres of land and welcomes approximately 37 million visitors each year! Therefore, it is the most visited urban park in America! In 1962 Central Park was awarded the status of “National Historical Landmark” by the U.S. government.
Unsurprisingly, there are lots of things to see and do in Central Park! Fountains, lakes, zoos and playgrounds are just a few of the things that the location offers visitors. Below is the second in a four part list series that documents some of the most famous sites to see when in Central Park.
The statue of Balto is yet another famous bronze piece of art that is displayed in Central Park. The sculpture was created by artist Frederick George Richard Roth in 1925 and serves to honor the memories of the sled dogs that helped save many lives in Alaska during a blizzard.
The Great Lawn
The Great Lawn is a part of Central Park that is famous for being akin to the backyard of New York City. As the name suggests, it is a large grassy field where people are invited to sunbathe and picnic. The Great Lawn gives people a chance to relax and fly kites or climb some of the large boulders that are scattered throughout the park’s landscape.
Central Park Zoo
The Central Park Zoo first opened in 1869 as a menagerie, making it the first official zoo to open in New York. In 1934 the zoo was remodeled via the addition of several buildings and throughout the 1980s the zoo added more naturalistic environments for the animals. Although the Central Park zoo is smaller than other New York City zoos, it is immensely popular due to its location and wide array of animals including sea lions and monkeys and a truly fantastic bird house.
The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater
The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater is another feature of Central Park that will be especially appealing to children. The Swedish Cottage first arrived in the United States in 1876 as part of Sweden’s exhibition at the Centennial Exposition, an event that was similar to a world’s fair. Central Park landscaper Frederick Law Olmstead spotted the cottage at the event and brought it to Central Park in 1877. The Swedish Cottage became the home of a marionette theater troupe in 1947. In 1973 a permanent puppet theater was constructed inside the cottage and the building is now part of the Historic House Trust of New York City. Until this day the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater performs original marionette productions to the delight of audiences.
Ponds and Lakes
Central Park has many ponds and lakes where visitors can see turtles and ducks and other tranquil scenes from nature. The Lake in Central park is 22 acres of water that park goers can explore via rowboat or gondolas. During the months of April thru October, on days that the weather permits, boats can be rented at the Loeb Boathouse. Since 1873 there has been a boathouse structure beside the Lake but it wasn’t until 1954 that the Loeb Boathouse was open for operation. At present the brick and limestone building serves as both a boathouse and a restaurant.