Into every Brooklyn mama‘s life, a little Manhattan must fall. Love my home borough, but who wants to stay in the ‘hood all the time?
Last weekend, we *finally* made it to Victorian Gardens at Wollman Rink in Central Park. This destination had been on my list since last summer, and I was determined not to miss the season again. Here’s what we found.
What it is:
A small, cheery amusement park surrounded by lush greenery and skyscraper views. It’s very nice (read: not Coney Island) and rides are designed for the younger set, so it’s a perfect destination for families with little kids.
Where it is:
Victorian Gardens is at Wollman Rink in Central Park. Since 2003, it’s been the summer incarnation of the winter skating rink.
What we thought of the place:
Loved it! It was a solid three-plus hours of easy entertainment in the sun. Kids left exhausted and happy, making the moms happy, too.
The size of the place makes it easily manageable — it’s not too big or overwhelming. Jasper is almost 6 and Magnolia is almost 4, and only one ride was deemed possibly too scary (by M.) Everything else was fair game. And since the place is so small and contained, it felt fine to have Jasper run over to a ride by himself — he was still easily in view, so we didn’t feel we had to keep both kids in line for the same ride at the same time.
You can pay (with tickets) by ride, or go for a wrist-band which allows access to all rides as many times as the kids want to ride them. Go for the wrist-band. It doesn’t take the kids long to catch on to the fact that it’s a free pass and, if they like a ride and the lines aren’t long, they can just say they want to stay on and go again and the easygoing park employees will let them. Sweet.
Not much shade = don’t forget hats and sunscreen.
As is often the case in New York, you will be rewarded if you get your act together and show up early to beat the crowds. The park opens at 10am most weekend days (11 on weekdays), so arrive well before noon and you’re less likely to have to wait in long lines. We were there by 10:30am and, for the first two hours, the kids could pretty much walk up to any ride they wanted and get right on.
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