Sites Around Central Park
We knocked out a few of the major sites on our first visit to Central Park in August of 2021, including the Central Park Lake. In spring of 2022 our hotel, the Hilton Club West, was beyond perfect for our purpose of exploring the top tourist sites in midtown Manhattan. On the corner of 57th street and Sixth Ave. we were equal walking distance to Central Park and to Rockefeller Center.
We visited Central Park every day, picnicking, riding the carousel, and in general enjoying the first warm days of spring in the city.
Central Park Zoo
Central Park Zoo was an unplanned but enjoyable stop on Easter Sunday. We pre-purchased tickets in the morning for a 12pm timeslot ($20 each- on a busy and warmer day it may have been sold out) and had lunch in the very small Cafe. You can grab a kid-friendly meal without a ticket to the zoo, but there are more affordable options just outside the park at the street vendors. Our first stop was the VERY warm Tropic Zone, which was filled with free-flying birds (and bats!) and other habitat enclosures with rainforest dwellers from around the world. The Central Park Zoo is relatively small, but the interpretation at each animal is heavily focused on the location of the natural habitat and conservation.
The most prominent outdoor exhibits included a snow leopard, snow monkeys, red pandas, and sea lions. We arrived at the indoor penguin & seabird house during feeding time, and were able to watch a variety of penguins that rivaled the cast of Happy Feet enjoy lunch. Seeing puffins (basically the North American version of a penguin) was an uncommon treat.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Advice for the Metropolitan Museum of Art: DO go during the extra evening hours (currently until 9pm) on Fridays and Saturdays…. DON’T go with only 2.5 hours until closing time with plans to also eat dinner. The later hours extended to the American Wing Café, where we shared sandwiches, a veggie tray, and drinks. We spent an hour in the Egyptian collection, and although by 8pm the museum was nearly empty, we had only seen 10% of the collection.
We found ourselves lost and looped multiple times through the Medieval and Ancient Greek art before calling it a night and vowing to return to find the rest of the museum.