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Central Park Conservancy Blog


How to Spend Spring in Central Park

|By Marissa Castrigno March 2019

A new season has arrived, and our staff has prepared for months to make Central Park a welcoming spring haven. Conservancy teams have been pruning trees, turning on fountains, tending to gardens, and more. Admire the beauty and warmth of this season while enjoying a bevy of new ways to explore Central Park!

See live music or theater, learn something new on a walking tour, or change up your fitness routine with a run through the Park. No matter what interests you, there’s something for everyone in the Park this season. Here are some highlights of upcoming Park events and activities — for even more ideas on how to celebrate this new season, download our free Spring Guide.

Fun for familiesIt’s time to get out for some fresh air with the whole family! There are all kinds of adventures awaiting kids in Central Park this season, whether that means exploring the plants and animals living in the Park or soaring high above the tree tops on a rainbow Ferris wheel.

Conservatory Water is popular with families and children because of its model boats, famous climbing sculptures, storytelling programs, and cafe. It’s also the site of the children’s classic Stuart Little.

  • Discovery Walks for Families: Conservatory GardenVarious dates and times in April, May, and June (Free)

    Admire thousands of blooms in Conservatory Garden through hands-on exploration and guided activities, complete with a free Discovery Journal — an activity book that teaches kids about plants and wildlife in the Park. Learn about the Garden’s history and design, investigate the differences between various flowers, and see what it takes to keep them healthy and beautiful. See our full listing of Discovery Walks for Families.

  • Victorian GardensOpens for the season Saturday, May 25 (Prices vary)

    Located at Wollman Rink, this kid-friendly amusement park has been a summer favorite since 2003. With 12 one-of-a-kind rides, tons of games and prizes, live entertainment, snack stations, and shady spots for resting, Victorian Gardens is the perfect kid-sized adventure, right in the City’s backyard.

  • Storytelling from the Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling CenterSaturdays from June to September, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm (Free)

    Since 1956, storytellers from the Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling Center have gathered at the Park’s beloved statue of Hans Christian Andersen on Saturday mornings in spring and summer to share fairy and folk tales from all over the world. Rain or shine. Great for children ages 6 and up, but fun for adults, too!

Arts and cultureWhat better locale to enjoy art, music, and theater than beautiful Central Park? There are new shows throughout the spring for visitors of all ages. Kids will love the historic Swedish Cottage, originally built in 1876 and now home to the oldest marionette theater troupe in the country!

The Swedish Cottage is home to one of the last public marionette companies in the country. Puppeteers have worked there since 1947.

  • Puss in BootsTuesday, March 19 – Sunday, June 23 ($8-12)

    This season at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater, meet two friends — Puss and Fergus Mundingle — whose boring lives lead them to seek out adventure. The telling of this classic story is perfect for kids of all ages. Shows last 45 minutes.

  • Shakespeare in the Park: Much Ado About NothingTuesday, May 21 – Sunday, June 23, 8:00 pm (Free)

    The beloved series returns to the Delacorte Theater with its first production of 2019. A project of the Public Theater, Shakespeare in the Park brings the playwright’s classics to all New Yorkers with free and equitable day-of ticketing. This spring, see Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Tony Award-winner Kenny Leon. Learn more about how to get tickets in person or through the online lottery.

  • One Nation Under a Groove: George Clinton & Parliament FunkadelicTuesday, June 4, 6:00 – 10:00 pm ($75-125)

    Funk legend George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic take over SummerStage at Rumsey Playfield during their last performance in New York City as part of the One Nation Under a Groove tour. Clinton will be joined by Galactic, Fishbone, and Dumpstaphunk. The show marks the first of this year’s SummerStage series, which features free and ticketed concerts in parks all over New York City.

Running in the ParkHit the paths and pavement with runners from near and far during one of the many New York Road Runners events hosted in Central Park, or get our running map and plan a solo expedition.

Featuring views of nearby blooms and the Manhattan skyline, the Stephanie and Fred Shuman Running Track surrounding the Reservoir is one of the most popular running destinations in the world.

  • 16th Annual SHAPE Women’s Half-MarathonSunday, April 14, 8:00 am ($85 for non-NYRR members)

    Women of all ages and backgrounds come together for a day of fun, fitness, and camaraderie. Whether you’re traveling from across the country or around the corner, join New York Road Runners for a memorable morning race around Central Park. You’ll run through the beautiful North Woods, pass the peaceful Lake, and see other iconic landmarks.

  • Rising New York Road Runners at Japan RunSunday, May 12, 9:30 am (Free)

    Bring your kids (ages 2 to 11) to Central Park for a morning of fun activities, running, and an opportunity to learn about Japanese culture. This event will include fitness games and a short dash on the 72nd Street Transverse Road. All finishers will get a celebratory ribbon!

  • Global Running DayWednesday, June 5

    Inspiring people all over the globe to take strides toward healthier, fitter lives, Global Running Day is held wherever you are! Celebrate with a jog through Central Park, where thousands of runners log miles every day on picturesque pathways surrounded by a slice of nature in the City. Read our runner’s guide to Central Park for Park routes and tips.

Seasonal toursTake a stroll through Central Park and admire the new flowers of spring — or search for the many birds that call the Park home. There are so many ways to explore this season in the Park, and our guides will point out some amazing highlights along the way.

If you’re a fan of colorful blooms, Conservatory Garden can’t be missed — thousands of colorful tulips bloom here each spring.

  • Birding Basics TourVarious dates and times in April and May (Free)

    Located along the Atlantic Flyway, Central Park welcomes more than 270 bird species each year. Many birds live in the Park year-round, with others making an important stop in the Park to rest and feed during spring and fall migrations. Trained Conservancy guides share tips and tricks for spotting and identifying birds while leading visitors through a Central Park woodland — the North Woods or the Ramble.

  • Spring Blooms: Conservatory Garden TourVarious dates in April and May ($15 for non-members, $10 for members; last Saturday of every month is free with registration)

    Celebrate spring with a tour of Central Park’s only formal garden, which features thousands of colorful tulips, two picturesque allées with blooming crabapple trees, and a magnificent wrought-iron gate. Conservatory Garden looks unlike anything else in Central Park — learn about its history, design, and blooms from the people who know it best.

  • Cherry Blossoms TourVarious dates and times in April ($15 for non-members, $10 for members)

    We’re debuting a new tour this season — a guided walk that showcases Central Park’s famous collection of cherry trees surrounding the Reservoir. You’ll admire nearly 200 Yoshino cherry trees on the Reservoir’s east side, with a similar number of Kwanzan cherry trees on its west side. Learn about the history of this area, the story behind these trees, and how we care for these blooms throughout the Park.

Venture out into Central Park and let us know what you discover by tagging @centralparknyc on social media. Spotting blooms? Also be sure to use the hashtag #CentralParkBloomWatch.

Source: How to Spend Spring in Central Park – The Official Website of Central Park NYC