An audio guide for young Central Park explorers
Explore Central Park with our audio guide’s main characters—Lettie, a time traveler from 1920s Harlem, and Alex, a contemporary Central Park Conservancy tour guide—and help find the clues that lead Lettie back home!
Along the way you'll discover hidden spots in the Park’s picturesque north end and learn about the Park's unique history and care.
It’s time to start your adventure!
How to Get Started
Start your journey at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center. Follow along with the audio guide to explore the Park at your own pace and answer the puzzles at each stop. Look for signs in the Park’s landscape with three- or four-digit codes and use the “Reveal Code” link to check your answers.
The Dana Center also has printed maps to enhance your experience. For an accessible experience, look for the accessibility icon:
The Central Park Time Machine is available on our website or through our digital guide on the Bloomberg Connects app. Download the app via the App Store or Google Play to join the adventure.
KIDS AUDIO GUIDE: THE CENTRAL PARK TIME MACHINE
Hear how the story ends and discover who created the time machine.
AL: Hello, friend! Guess what? Lettie found the time machine!
After we cracked the final code, the most amazing thing happened. An older lady with a bright and kind face approached us and asked: “Are you looking for the time machine?” We were shocked! How did she know? She wouldn’t tell us, but she did say that since we solved all the puzzles, she could lead us to the time machine. And what do you know? It was right by the Dana Center!
After Lettie used the time machine to travel back to 1927, the kind lady shared with me her secret. Friend, she was Lettie all grown up! And not only that, she created the time machine to begin with! You see, Lettie grew up to become a brilliant scientist who cracked one of the biggest puzzles of all—how to travel through time. She then created the radio time machine, and placed it in the Park, for her younger self to find.
And there you have it: the mystery of the Central Park time machine is solved. But who knows what other secrets this legendary Park holds!
IS THE CENTRAL PARK TIME MACHINE REAL?
Discover what’s fact and what’s fiction in the story of the Central Park time machine.
Hello, friend! My name is Zia, and I play Alex on the Central Park Time Machine. If you have enjoyed our audio adventure, you might ask yourself, is any of this real?
Well, first things first. As far as we know, no time-traveling radio was ever discovered in Central Park (that would have been cool though, right?). This part of the audio adventure comes straight from our own imagination.
What about Lettie? In the 1920s, Harlem became the center of Black culture in the United States. It was famous for its Black literature, music, and art. This period in history is known as the Harlem Renaissance (renaissance means revival), and it happened just outside this very section of Central Park. We know from historical sources, like photos and newspapers, that many Black kids lived in the neighborhood, and we like to think they enjoyed visiting Central
Park. Lettie is not a real person, but we used what we learned about her time and place to draw inspiration for her character.
Beyond that, all the information we shared about Central Park and the Central Park Conservancy is completely true.
And my character, Alex Garcia? Alex is imagined, but the character is based on the real Central Park tour guides who spend their days sharing the Park’s fascinating history with visitors like you. If you want to meet a real-life Central Park guide, why don’t you join one of our official Central Park tours? You can find more information at centralparknyc.org/tours.
We thank you for joining us for the Central Park Time Machine audio adventure. We look forward to seeing you in Central Park again soon!
MEET THE CHARACTERS – LETTIE
Missed the first stop? Play this to meet Lettie, a bright and curious girl from 1920s Harlem.
Hello! My name is Estelle Wilson, but everyone calls me Lettie. When I woke up this morning, in my home in Harlem, it was 1927.
I headed to Central Park—I love visiting the Harlem Meer to say hello to the turtles and ducks—and while I was walking by the water, I discovered a wooden box. It looked like a treasure! I opened the box, and saw that it was a radio, one of the fancy new models that you can take with you anywhere and tune in!
I turned one of the knobs, and suddenly everything went dark. When I could see again, I found myself in a very different-looking Central Park. Turns out, the radio was a time machine, and I am in the future!
The Park sure looks swell, and I can’t wait to explore it. But I hope I’m not gone too long; I do want to get back home to mama and papa eventually. The thing is, in order to go back, I have to find the radio—I mean the time machine—and I lost track of it when I was trying to figure out what happened.
Alex, a Central Park Conservancy guide, is going to help me find the time machine again, here in Central Park, but I could use your help, too! Are you coming? Let’s go!
MEET THE CHARACTERS - ALEX
Missed the first stop? Play this to meet Alex, a helpful and knowledgeable Centra Park Conservancy guide.
Hello there, friend! Alex Garcia here. I work for the Central Park Conservancy. We take care of the Park, keeping it clean and green for everyone to enjoy. My job is to help visitors like you make the most of their time in our incredible park. I am excited to meet you today!
Have you met Lettie? I can’t believe it: a girl from the time of the Harlem Renaissance! I remember learning in school how the 1920s were an important time for Black culture in Harlem, full of vibrant music, art, and literature, but I never imagined I would someday meet a person who lived through that exciting era.
To help Lettie get home, we need to visit different locations in the Park’s north end. There we will find the cod
north end is one of my favorite areas of the whole Park, full of stories and secrets. Are you up for an adventure?