Right in the feet of the Belvedere Castle and the Vista Rock, in the heart of Central Park, is located the picturesque Turtle Pond. The waters of the small artificial water reservoir, which was created in 1937, also wash the short shoreline of the Great Lawn.
The waters of the pond are home to five types of turtles, which live there the year round. The small lake is named after them actually. It is believed that the first reptiles in the Turtle Pond were pets, which were left in the lake around 30 years ago. The most numerous species in the lake is the Red-Eared Slider, which adores sunbathing on the rocks around the pond and often can be seen there in summer and spring.
Being a dog-friendly place, the Turtle Pond is an ideal spot for whole families which can enjoy turtle watching on its shores and birdwatching from the balconies of the Belvedere Castle. Furthermore, the lake’s shoreline is a very good place for picnicking and other outdoor activities like playing Frisbee.
However, guests of the park should keep in mind that Turtle Pond and its surroundings are a quiet zone and things like playing musical instruments are not allowed.
Just east of the pond is located one of the most magnificent statue in the entire Central Park – that of the former Polish king Wladyslaw II Jagiello. A creation of the sculptor Stanislaw Ostrowski, the monument is one of the popular amenities of the park since 1939 when the bronze statue was put into its current location for the New York World’s Fair, which took place in the city the same year.
On the opposite side of the Turtle Pond stands another very popular landmark of Central Park – the Delacorte Theater. The open-air amphitheater, which was opened in 1962 with the play “The Merchant of Venice” by William Shakespeare, has a capacity of 1 800 sitting spectators.
It was built with money, donated by the magazine owner George Delacorte, Jr., hence the name of the theater. Guests of the park have to wait in front of the theater in order to get free tickets, two per person, for the performances. Each year the theater hosts the Shakespeare in the Park program, which features popular plays by the renowned British author. Other landmarks worth visiting are Strawberry Fields and Bethesda Terrace and Fountain.