Sports and Activities
Central Park has a wealth of sports and outdoor activities all year round, from ice skating in the winter to boating in the summer.
Wollman Memorial Rink
Use the Central Park South (West 59th Street)-6th Avenue entrance
West 57th Street station (F train)
By winter, Wollman Rink is a midcity paradise for ice skaters; in the summer months, the ice gives way to the Victorian Gardens Amusement Park. For those who enjoy watching, the terrace above offers a lovely view of the skaters. Ice skating prevails from November to March. On weekdays, ice skating is $9.50 for adults and $4.75 for children and seniors. On weekends, fees go up to $12, $8.50, and $5, respectively. Skate rental is $5.
You can also skate in the winter at Lasker Rink and Pool at 106th Street, midpark; it is the only public swimming facility in the park during the summer months. For more information, call 212-534-7639.
The Charles A. Dana Discovery Center
36 West 110th Street (between 5th and Lenox avenues)
Central Park North (110th Street) station (2 or 3 train)
The Dana Discovery Center is one of the newest points of interest and education for children — and grownups too. The center, in a chateau at the northeast corner of the park, offers environmental studies on an eleven-acre section of the recently restored Harlem Meer. Various exhibits and workshops at the center focus on ecology, orienteering, and nature. Schedule time for the walking tours and performances; during the week it's a haven for class trips. It is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11
The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater
79th Street Transverse
West 81st Street-Museum of Natural History station (B or C train)
This is a fun-filled place to find entertainment for the little ones. The cottage is originally from the nineteenth century and has since been renovated. Puppet shows are performed Tuesday through Friday at 10:30
The Loeb Boathouse and the Lake
72nd Street and Park Drive North (enter park at 72nd Street and 5th Avenue)
East 68th Street-Hunter College station (6 train)
The boathouse and lake are located on the east side of the park between Seventy-fourth and Seventy-fifth streets. The second biggest body of water in the park, the eighteen-acre lake offers plenty of boating activity and makes for a scenic, romantic place to stroll. From April through September, you can rent a rowboat at the Loeb Boathouse seven days a week from 10
Maybe the most enchanting evening in all of New York are the gondola rides, offered in the summer on weekdays from 5
Like the legendary Tuileries in Paris, you can rent miniature wooden boats and sail them along the Conservatory Water, pushing them back and forth with wooden sticks. On spring and summer weekends, this is often a very crowded area. Boat rentals are on a first-come, first-served basis and go for $10 per hour. This activity is seasonal. Conservatory Water is located on the east side from Seventy-second to Seventy-fifth Street.Tennis, Anyone?
Tennis players can enjoy swinging away on some of the bestmaintained public courts in the country at the Tennis Center, located between West Ninety-fourth and West Ninety-sixth streets near the West Drive. The twenty-six clay and four asphalt courts are open from April through November. If you'll be staying in the city for an extended period or visiting often, you can buy a season permit at the Arsenal in the park at Sixty-fourth Street and Fifth Avenue. For more information, call 212-360-8133. Seasonal permits cost $100 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $10 for children under seventeen. If you want to play once, you can purchase a single-day permit for $7 per person at the Tennis Center. There's an on-site pro shop, snack bar, and restrooms. Lessons are available too. For court reservations (a must), call 212-280-0205.And There's More
Even though the historic Claremont Stables were recently closed, you can still go horseback riding in Central Park by booking a guided tour with the Riverdale Riding Center. For safety, riders must be at an advanced level, certified by an instructor at Riverdale. You must be able to walk, trot, and canter and control a horse in large — and sometimes busy — open spaces. The cost is $100. Info at 718-548-4848;
Take a romantic carriage ride. The carriages line up along Central Park South between Fifth and Sixth avenues and Fifty-ninth Street at the southern end of Central Park across the street from the Plaza Hotel. Rides cost $34 for the first thirty minutes and $10 for each additional quarter hour. For more information call 212-736-0680 or visit
Bicycle riding is also a very popular park activity. Designated bike paths are clearly marked. Rent a bike at the Loeb Boathouse seven days a week during the months of March through November from 10
If you prefer more intellectual pursuits or if you want your kid to learn the ancient game of chess, visit the Chess and Checker House at West Sixty-fifth Street, just west of the Dairy. It has twenty-four outdoor chess and checkers tables protected from the sun. During the summer, chess experts teach six- to thirteen-year-olds how to play for free. You can even borrow chess or checker pieces at no charge ($20 returnable deposit plus ID required) from the Dairy. There are also numerous places throughout the park to sit and play these and other board games. Chess and Checker House is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10