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There is something to tickle the fancy of everyone in New York City’s Central Park. Visit Belvedere Castle. It was intended to be a Victorian Folly. Today the fantasy structure provides great views and serves as the Henry Luce Nature Observatory with a vast collection of natural history artifacts and displays.
Wollman Rink offers ice skating from October to April but the other months the ice is replaced with Victorian Gardens. Young and old will enjoy the Central Park Zoo and the Friedsam Memorial Carousel. In summer, the Great Lawn plays host to free shows courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic. Elsewhere in the park, Rumsey Playfield is the home of SummerStage, a free performing arts festival featuring music, dance, film and more. Visitors can toss a frisbee on the Great Lawn, take a boat ride on The Lake, rent a bike, or go fishing. The Conservancy supplies poles for catch-and-release fishing. Bats, balls, and other game equipment including game pieces to use on their chess and checkers tables are available. The iconic and most touristy thing to do is to go for a spin in a horse-drawn carriage.
Year-round the Central Park Conservancy offers walking tours led by experienced volunteer guides. The walks last from half an hour to two hours and take place rain or shine. No reservations are needed. They also offer self-guided audio tours. But visitors are free to wander, explore and get lost in the park. The park is open 365 days a year from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. Central Park is the green jewel of the Big Apple and one of the world’s most visited parks receiving 35 million visitors a year. For New Yorkers and tourists alike the park is a wonderful oasis in the middle of one of the world’s most dynamic cities.