Designers: Frederick Law Olmsted 1822-1903 USA & Calvert Vaux 1824-1895 • England
Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00am to 4:30pm
One of the most enchanting spectacles in Central Park is Belvedere Castle. From its perch on an immense outcropping of bedrock called Vista Rock visitors to the Park can be enthralled by the view of the Delacorte Theater,Turtle Pond and the Great Lawn far below.
This Victorian structure with its two balconies rises up on one of the highest natural elevations in the Park. It is a silhouette of distinction from the surrounding landscape and a mystery to behold as it appears through the tree branches to visitors who approach through the dense underbrush of the Ramble.
The Castle is also the home of the Henry Luce Nature Observatory. With its medieval stairways and ancient ambience along with the carefully thought out exhibits youngsters have a grand opportunity to learn about nature and the Park in a compelling environment. On the main level, nature exhibits with telescopes and microscopes are available to provide an extended dimension to the learning experience.
The Castle’s second floor contains a plywood tree filled with papier mâché reproductions of birds often seen in Central Park. Recorded bird songs can be called up at the push of a button. Visitors of all ages can borrow Discovery Kits that contain binoculars, reference material and maps for exploring either the many species of birds in the Ramble, or the aquatic life at the edge of Turtle Pond. The Castle also provides up-to-the-minute weather reports given to anyone who requests a forecast. A voice from a box announces,” The Temperature in Central Park is…" Twirling meteorological instruments located atop the tower access information regarding weather conditions.
The U.S. Weather Bureau has collected data at this site since 1919.
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