Central Park Conservancy offers a variety of educational programs and resources to help children explore Central Park and develop skills for learning and inquiry, all in the world’s greatest outdoor classroom. These programs can be combined for an enhanced experience:
Discovery Club for Families
Get up close and personal with plants, bugs, and more as you explore Central Park’s urban forest! This five-part interactive series takes you on a immersive woodland adventure that engages the whole family. Sessions available during the spring and fall for families with children in grades 1-4.
Learn more and register
Learn how people, plants, and wildlife thrive in Central Park by getting a different "insider's view" each week. Activities related to park design, horticulture, and gardening culminate with an opportunity to get your hands dirty with a Park improvement project.
NOTE: Discovery Club takes place in the North Woods of Central Park, and is best suited for families with children in grades 1-4. Siblings in grades 1-2 may join their older siblings in the sessions for grades 3-4 (older siblings make great teachers!).
Base fee for one child, one parent: $250.00 ($200 for Members).
$150.00 each additional child; $50.00 each additional adult.
INCLUDED: Each participating child receives a Discovery Kit (a kid-friendly backpack that contains binoculars, a magnifying glass, field guides, and other discovery tools), along with a Field Notebook, and a Discovery Journal.
Session 2: Saturdays, June 4 – July 2
10:00 am – 12:00 pm (grades 1 - 4)
Where does the program take place?
Discovery Club explores the North Woods located in the northwest corner of Central Park from 101st to 110th Streets. Designed to include tumbling cascades, rustic bridges, and picturesque pools, the North Woods evokes the look and feel of the landscape of the Adirondack Mountains.
What's in a Discovery Kit?
Discovery Kits contain all the tools needed to investigate Central Park's woodlands: binoculars, a magnifying glass, field guides, and most importantly, a field notebook to record observations.
I have a child in both grade ranges. Which session do I choose?
Choose the session for the grade of your oldest child — older siblings make wonderful teachers!
What should we wear and bring?
Discovery Club takes place entirely outdoors. Wear comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing and closed-toe shoes you don’t mind getting dirty. Bring water and a light snack.
What happens if there’s bad weather?
Nature happens. Exploring in the rain is just as fun as in the sun, so dress to get wet and muddy. Should severe weather conditions be expected, however, we will move the session indoors at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center.
Can we make up a missed session?
Discovery Club is structured to explore a new topic each week, so we are unable to allow individual families to make up a missed session.
May we bring along our dog?
While we love your four-legged family members, we ask that they stay home for this program.
Take a trek with Conservancy experts and learn about Central Park's landscapes through hands-on exploration using Discovery Kits.
Learn more and register
Registration is now open for the following Discovery Walks:
- Registration required as space is limited.
- Families only (children and their caregivers); ages 5+.
- Maximum of three children per parent or guardian; no groups.
- Terrain not suitable for strollers.
- Walks take place rain or shine, except in extreme weather conditions. Extreme weather conditions include heavy rain, sustained winds of 30 mph or more, heavy snowstorms, wind chill below 25 degrees Fahrenheit, or heat index above 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
- We will notify you by email if the walk has been cancelled.
Discovery Kits and Journals
Stop by our visitor centers and borrow a Discovery Kit for an in-Park adventure! Enhance your adventure with a Woodland or Aquatic Discovery Journal.
Discovery Kit backpacks are filled with kid-friendly binoculars, field guides, a hand lens, colored pencils, and sketch paper. Discovery Journals include activities for kids to investigate the connections between plants and wildlife, and a large, kid-friendly map. Available for the North Woods, the Ramble, the Harlem Meer, Turtle Pond, and the Pond.
- Best for ages 6 – 10.
- Discovery Journals $2 each (MEMBERS free); group discount available.
- Groups of five or more may borrow kits by registering at least two weeks in advance. Group size limited to 30 students; please note there is a $20 refundable deposit for groups.
- Register by calling Charles A. Dana Discovery Center at 212.860.1370; Belvedere Castle at 212.772.0288, or Chess & Checkers House at 212.794.4064.
Enrich your family or school group's visit by downloading our Exploration Guide prior to visiting Central Park. These guides are designed to complement the Discovery Journals by providing information on the ecological features unique to each area. Guides include a map with suggested route and activities for developing kids' observation skills.
If you have a question about these or any other Central Park Conservancy Discovery Programs, please email email@example.com.
Discovery Programs are generously supported by The Dr. Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation.
These programs are additionally supported in part by the Brooke Astor Fund for New York City Education in The New York Community Trust.