After we wrapped up our first part of the day visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island as part of our 4,000+ mile road trip to Canada, we came back to our hotel and relaxed for a bit before heading out to explore Central Park and Times Square. If you’ve never been to the city before, I would highly recommend checking out my top 10 tips for visiting New York City for the first time to help ease your stress level because it can be super intimidating!
See our whole trip HERE!
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There are many entrances to the ginormous Central Park and it’s easy to get turned around from where you started off from. I would highly suggest dropping a pin on your phone in the maps app so you can easily return to where you entered!
We entered Central Park at the Southwest corner at Merchants’ Gate, #8 and had several large parks to play around at!
Merchants’ Gate, The Maine Monument – Central Park
The Maine Monument commemorates the 260 American sailors who perished on February 15th, 1898 when the USS Maine exploded while in harbor in Havana, Cuba. Unfortunately when we visited it was really cloudy so the sun wasn’t shimmering on these beautiful golden statues atop the Merchants’ Gate entrance. But nevertheless, you they were still shiny and beautiful!
When we visited NYC in 2010 we didn’t get the chance to explore Central Park, so this trip we prioritized it and decided to walk around and see as much as we could!
The park was absolutely bustling with excitement in every corner. From entertainers blowing bubbles, to paining portraits to carriage rides, there was no shortage of sightseeing glories!
A little side note to the wise. If you are interested in booking a horse carriage ride, be sure to ask the carriage driver what loop or loops they will be taking you on. The deal sounds super sweet and affordable until you find out that it is only for the smaller, inner loop. But for the longer ride, it’s quite pricey. So just be sure to ask your questions before getting on the carriage!
Hecksher Playground – Central Park
Hecksher Playground is the oldest and largest playground in Central Park spanning 1.8 acres. It features rock climbing, splash pad areas, swings, slides, tunnels and more! ts primary entrance is the central breezeway of the newly restored Heckscher Building.
The playgrounds are super fun but extremely busy, especially if you are not from a city type area. So use common sense and watch your kids! Stay off your phones (yes, be present …or bored…you choose which one, lol) and be diligent about watching where they go and of your surroundings. —> We had a safety 101 lesson with our kids and our oldest son had all of these grand ideas of how he would “defeat a bad guy”…and lets just say, the mind of a 7 (almost 8 at the time) year old is super brave and pretty naive all at the same time!
After we wore ourselves out playing and having fun, we headed back towards Times Square to enjoy all fo the lights!
Finally we were all ready after a super long day of exploring the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Central Park and then Times Square that we decided it was time to head back to our hotel and enjoy some sleep!!
The next day was spent exploring Rockefeller Center, The Empire State Building and more!
See our entire road trip through the USA to Canada HERE!