When Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed Central Park in the 19th Century, they designated this 10-acre meadow in the southwest corner of the Park as a "playground" — the term used to describe a versatile open meadow intended for games, sports and informal play. The oldest playground in Central Park, created in 1927, and the largest at 1.8 acres, Heckscher Playground includes a great variety of play features and spaces. Its primary entrance is the central breezeway of the newly restored Heckscher Building.
The playground includes a shaded area with swings and slides; a multiuse area comprised of synthetic turf and safety surfacing; and a large, maze-like climber and water feature with tunnels, ramps and slides.
Water flows from the highest point of the climber and down to elevated water channels, which children can walk through. The water ends at ground level in an area where a variety of water jets spray into the air. Younger children can cool off in a semi-enclosed area with a low and gentle spray.
The Central Park Conservancy reconstructed Heckscher Playground in 2005 and the Heckscher Building in 2007.
Initiated in 1991 by the Women's Committee of the Central Park Conservancy, Playground Partners is a group of volunteers who ensure that Central Park's 21 playgrounds are kept safe and well maintained.