Best public playgrounds in Central Park and where to find them

things-to-do Nov 20, 2020

Central Park is well beloved by both old and young, especially by the youngest who can run freely on the endless lawns and play on the multiple playgrounds. Central Park is equipped with 21 public playgrounds suited for kids of all ages. Here’s the list of our favorite 10, based on their location, accessibility, “fun” factor, as well as cool facts about them, or if they are somehow related to an interesting historical figure. Enjoy!

heckscher playground

1. East 110th Street Playground

  • located in the northern part, just next to the Harlem Meer, this playground was renovated in 2013, and now offers a modern outdoor experience, perfectly fitted for kids of school age, as well for kids with disabilities. It’s most famous with its jungle gym and water features that kids love in the hot days!

2. Tarr Family Playground

  • with its sea of sand, it is divided into two areas – for school kids and pre-school kids. The most famous attraction is the pyramid, where kids can climb to the top, and the high-speed slides, but also the maze and the tree house.

3. Tarr-Coyne Wild West Playground

  • for all the little cowboys and cowgirls in Manhattan! Targeted specially to the youngest visitors of the park, this playground has a wild west theme, tons of sand, several swings, and attractions that are fit for kids with disabilities.

4. Arthur Ross Pinetum Playground

  • located near the Great Lawn, amongst the fresh air of the pine forest, this playground is often enjoyed even by adults. You can safely send your kids to play and prepare a picnic for them at the designated tables so they can have something to munch on when they’re back!

5. Ancient Playground

  • no, it’s not ancient. It was inspired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Egyptian collection. It fields a sundial, pyramids, and an obelisk, and is ideal for kids of all ages. And the Met is just nearby, which makes it perfect for their parents, too.

6. Billy Johnson Playground

  • famous for its huge granite slide, it recently received a renovation that added another, smaller slide for younger children. More cool features include sprinklers, an Amphitheatre, and some bucket swings.

7. Safari Playground

  • aimed at the youngest, this is a very safe playground due to its foam flooring. It has plenty of water features, canoes, hippos, tree houses, and is set atop of a hill, overlooking the Reservoir, so the views can be stunning.

8. Abraham and Joseph Spector Playground

  • one of the biggest playgrounds in the park. Perfect for kids of all ages, it fields a wide variety of attractions and a couple of sand boxes.

9. Robert Bendheim Playground

  • another one, where all kids can play, this playground is especially aimed towards those with disabilities. It is equipped with ramps and attractions fitted for wheelchairs. The playground features some interesting sound-generating play components and water features.

10. Heckscher Playground

  • the most famous of all. And the oldest. And the largest. And so on. Fielding literally everything – swings, slides, water features with a stream, and a rock to climb on. Like we’ve mentioned – it is the biggest (3 acres), and the oldest – established in 1926, and named after August Heckscher (businessman and philanthropist, and grandfather of Parks Commissioner August Heckscher III). The playground has its own restrooms and places to eat, so it is perfect for a full-day adventure!
heckscher playground

Whether you’re a native and have your own fond memories of the playgrounds in the park, or you’re a parent, visiting Central Park with your own children, we’re quite sure that both you and they will enjoy the park at the fullest!

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