New York City’s Central Park is a destination unto itself, complete with multiple attractions and things to do. If you’re visiting the city with kids, consider reserving an entire day to explore the park – especially if the kids have spent long hours behaving themselves in museums and shops. What can you do while visiting the park? Skip the horse-drawn carriage or bike rentals and explore the paved paths on your own, keeping your eye out for these notable landmarks.
Central Park Playgrounds
The entire park can be considered a playground fit for running, jumping, and climbing, but there’s also actual playgrounds perfect for modern kids who need to be shown explicitly how to avoid boredom. You’ll find jungle gyms and splash pads throughout the park, often nestled among monstrous boulders on which adults and kids alike crawl and climb. In addition to free play, many of the playgrounds also host free activities for young kids.
Want to slip a little education into the day? Stroll down Literary Walk and look for statues of notable figures in literary history. This is also a popular spot for musical performers and food vendors, so grab an ice cream cone and listen to great live music in between your history lessons.
A beautiful spot to walk, run, and watch the boats on the water. Bethesda Fountain is also near a road where cars and carriages drive by, so be on the lookout for traffic as you make your way to the fountains.
John Lennon’s favorite spot in the park – presumably because it was right across the street from his home – has been memorialized with “quiet zone” lawns and a mosaic art piece. This is definitely one of the most touristy spots in the park, but it’s worth seeing at least once. You may not want to stay long with small kids though, as quiet zones and young kids don’t often mix.
What’s your favorite spot in the park?
Photos by Britt Reints
Take a running tour of cities like Atlanta, Georgia!
I’m am not a runner, not by a long shot. In fact, I avoid running and jogging like politicians avoid straight answers. So when I heard about Atlanta Running Tours, my first thought was “Huh? You want people to pay to run and get hot and sweaty and tired just to see attractions they can view from an air conditioned car for free? No way!”
I do try to have an open mind though, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I should help the company advertise. I love living in Atlanta, but in all honesty, it’s not the easiest city to get around for tourists. Cabs are a pain in the butt to call (and they never seem to be around corners when you need them), public transportation has a long way to go and traffic is the worse I’ve seen outside of Los Angeles. That being said, this city does have a lot to see and do, and if you have a car, and don’t mind sitting in traffic a bit, you’re usually good to go. (Except for parking. Oh, how I hate parking in this city.)
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This weekend, the brand-new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial will open in Washington, D.C.. This week, though, visitors can enjoy a “soft opening.” From what I can discern from pictures, the site has done a nice job incorporating King’s words into the memorial’s artistry. The famous Civil Rights leader is depicted emerging from a large stone, bringing to mind his famous words from his “I Have a Dream” speech: “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” Interestingly, this King Memorial is the only one on The Mall that doesn’t recognize a president or war veteran.
I happened to come across one other brand-new Washington, D.C. attraction that’s actually been there for quite some time. The “Deep Throat” parking garage now has a sign outside to alert visitors to the fact that they are parking in the very garage where Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward was handed crucial information by an anonymous source. Six meetings between the pair took place between 1972 and 1973, and they would result in the eventual resignation of President Nixon.
Washington, D.C. is chock-full of historic sites and it’s interesting that these two sites were unveiled at the same time. We now know that in 1958, Martin Luther King said, “If Richard Nixon is not sincere, he is the most dangerous man in America.” There’s lots more to that story, but it’s an interesting tidbit to note.
Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia
Cemeteries can be pretty quiet places. Historic Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia, however is trying to change things up a bit. In May, they held a Tunes from the Tombs event in which bands from Atlanta, California, Colorado and Pennsylvania performed on stages via busking all over the cemetery. The event was a big success and will definitely be held again next year.
At any given time in Oakland Cemetery, there is likely to be a tour happening. And just look at all the guided tours that are offered! I’ve been on one, and my guide was outstanding – really personable and knowledgeable and because we were a small group, she made the tour a good 30 minutes longer than it usually is. There are also self-guided tours at the cemetery and, the last time I checked, stations which tell you a phone number to call which will give you a guided tour on your cell phone.
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