Chess & Checkers House
The Chess & Checkers House is one of five visitor centers run by Central Park Conservancy. Chess and checkers players are welcome to borrow pieces from the Conservancy staff, or bring their own. Dominos and backgammon are also available.
Soon after the Park was opened in the 1860s, it was criticized by local newspapers for its lack of facilities for children and their caregivers. The commissioners responded by creating a Children's District in the southern part of the park. The features included the Dairy, the playground (now Heckscher Playground and Ballfield), a children's cottage (since demolished), and the Kinderberg, or "children's mountain," where the Park's largest rustic shelter once stood. In 1952, private funds enabled construction of the Chess & Checkers House to replace the Kinderberg. In 1986, Central Park Conservancy restored the building and built the rustic pergola surrounding the house to provide shade for players.
April to October: Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
November to March: Wed – Sun, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's.
Things to do:
- Play Board Games
- Test your chess skills at our annual summer Chess Lecture and Simul Series
- Borrow a free, kid-friendly Discovery Kit filled with field guides, binoculars and art supplies
- Get a free, kid-friendly Discovery Journal with activities to enhance your visit
- Take a Discovery Walk
- Volunteer to Pitch In, Pick Up
Groups: Reservations are required for Discovery Kits, Board Games, and Pitch In, Pick Up for groups of 5-30 people. Request a Group Reservation.
Are you an educator? Learn about additional volunteer and education opportunities for school groups at our Visitor Centers.