One of the most famous tourist destinations in New York City, the Central Park was the first landscaped park in the United States of America. During the mid-eighteenth century, wealthy landowners and merchants who admired the elegant public grounds of Paris and London urged the city authorities to build such a park in New York.
After several discussion and debates on the location and price, the Central Park was built by English architect Calvert Vaux and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted in the year 1858. The park became immensely popular among Americans and tourists in a short span of time and Central Park was listed as a National Historic Landmark in the year 1962.
The Central Park of NYC, which is spread across lush 843-acres of green land, is home to lakes, meadows, woodlands, and wildlife. In fact, Central Park is one of the greatest assets and biggest attractions of the city, which means that it is something tourists don’t want to miss while they are on a New York City tour with their friends or family members.
If you are planning to take a tour of the Central Park while you are in New York, then it is significant to note that this place is huge. Therefore, if you wish to explore the park to its fullest, then you will need to pick up a map from the visitor center and make up your mind on the list of things you want to see in the Central Park. Below is a list of the major highlights in the Central Park of New York that you must not miss.
Belvedere Castle, which is one of the major highlights of the Central City, is actually a stone castle. This elegant stone castle situated on top of the Vista Rock offers a stunning view of both New York City and the park from its rooftop. If you look towards the north, you will be able to see the famous Delacorte Theater that organizes free Shakespearean productions every year.
It is crucial to note that Belvedere Castle is not really a castle but just a miniature castle, which was built as a lookout within the Central Park. If you are fortunate, you will be able to see famous and talented artists performing at the theater.
Central Park Zoo
Central Park Zoo is one of the most preferred and favorite spots of families who are visiting NYC. You can find a wide variety of animal species inside this zoo. In fact, you can find more than 100 different types of animals from the Polar Regions, California Coast, and tropics. There is an equatorial rain forest in the zoo that houses free-flying birds and monkeys whereas penguins are kept inside the Arctic section.
Some other animals that you can see in the Central Park Zoo are red pandas, snow leopards, and polar bears. If you are visiting the museum with kids or family members, then make sure to check out the 4D Theater and enjoy the nature-related themes.
The Strawberry Fields in Central Park was actually designed as a memorial for the famous English musician, songwriter, and singer, John Lennon. John Lennon was tragically murdered right in front of the Dakota apartments on the west side of this famous park. You will be able to see a mosaic in the pathway with the words “Imagine” inscribed in it to honor Lennon’s 1971 song.
The landscape, which was designed by Vaux and Olmstead, contain approximately 161 plant species from different countries. This is one of the most visited spots in the Central Park of NYC and you can find a number of tourists and New Yorkers clicking pictures with the memorial.
Bethesda Fountain and Terrace
The Bethesda Fountain, which is the dazzling focal point of Central Park’s Bethesda Terrace measures twenty-six feet high by ninety-six feet wide. You might be surprised to know that the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park is one of the most famous fountains in the world and the largest in New York City.
The Angel of the Waters sculpture or the neoclassical sculpture at the center of the fountain contains a bronze angel who represents peace, temperance, purity, and health. So if you get tired after a stressful day of sightseeing and strolling across the Central Park, then head straight to the Bethesda Terrace to relax before continuing your journey.
The Conservatory Garden of Central Park is a peaceful oasis that is filled with more than thousands of shrubs and trees. The six-acre area with a calm atmosphere is also known as the one and only formal garden in New York’s Central Park.
The Conservatory Garden is divided into three different sections or segments of different styles such as English, Italian, and French. The park is open from morning 08:00 am to dusk every day, and it is free from bicyclists and runners, which makes it an ideal place for afternoon walks and casual getaways.