Charles A. Dana Discovery Center

Located on the north shore of the Harlem Meer is the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, a visitor center run by the Central Park Conservancy.

The Conservancy offers free educational and community programs, exhibits, tours, and holiday celebrations at the Dana Discovery Center. While the building looks historic, the Dana Center is Central Park’s newest building. It was constructed in 1993 as part of a major restoration of the Harlem Meer.

The Dana Discovery Center offers Discovery Kits, Lawn Games, and Catch-and-Release fishing pole rentals for free. To make group reservations, please fill out this Dana Center Group Reservation Request form.

Visit the Conservancy's ongoing exhibition at the Dana Center, Open to All: The Story of Central Park’s Gates, presented in conjunction with the dedication of the Gate of the Exonerated—the first and only addition to the named gates since 1862. It tells the story of Central Park’s original entrances and examines how they reflected ideas about the population served by the Park, and where (and how) they can enter.

Things you can do here

  • Kids & Families

    Harlem Meer Summer Festival: Clean Money Music

    Tags: Families / Summer / All Ages / First-Time Visitors

  • Activities

    Catch-and-Release Fishing

    Borrow fishing poles for catch-and-release fishing in the Harlem Meer.

    Tags: Kids and Families

  • Kids & Families

    Harlem Meer Movement: Funkaerobics with Go Hard Dance

    Tags: Families / Summer / All Ages / First-Time Visitors

  • Kids & Families

    Summer on the Harlem Meer: Nature

    11:00 am

    Discover the Meer and its residents!

    Tags: Staff Picks / Nature Lovers / Kids and Families

  • Kids & Families

    Harlem Meer Summer Festival: Double Dutch with Double Dutch Dreamz

    Tags: Families / Summer / All Ages / First-Time Visitors

  • Activities

    Open to All: The Story of Central Park’s Gates

    Visit the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center to learn the story of Central Park’s original entrances and examine how they welcome visitors into this space.

    Tags: Staff Picks

  • Kids & Families

    Harlem Meer Summer Festival: Los Pleneros de la 21

    Tags: Families / Summer / All Ages / First-Time Visitors

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Harlem Meer Summer Festival: Sing Harlem!

    Tags: Families / Summer / All Ages / First-Time Visitors

  • Tours

    Central Park Nature Walk: The North Woods

    2:00 pm

    Engage your senses, calm your mind, and immerse yourself in the Park’s greenery.

    Tags: Art & Architecture / Wildlife / Plants and Trees

  • Guides

    A Guide to the Perfect Central Park Date

    New Yorkers and visitors alike often regard Central Park as one of the City’s most romantic destinations. We’ve put together a guide to the Park’s most magical places to bring your beloved.

  • Activities

    Lawn Games

    Borrow a variety of lawn games like bocce ball, horseshoes, kubb, cornhole and ring toss, for outdoor play in fair weather!

    Tags: Kids and Families / Health & Fitness

  • Activities

    Discovery Kits

    Young explorers are invited to borrow an official Central Park Conservancy Discovery Kit or take away a complimentary Discovery Journal from our visitor centers!

    Tags: Kids and Families

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Harlem Meer Summer Festival: Pia Paez

    Tags: Families / Summer / All Ages / First-Time Visitors

  • Kids & Families

    Harlem Meer Summer Festival: Beginner/Open-Level Vinyasa Yoga Class with Harlem Yoga

    Tags: Families / Summer / All Ages / First-Time Visitors

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Harlem Meer Performance Festival

    Perform in the 2024 Harlem Meer Performance Festival!

    Tags: Families / Summer / Staff Picks / All Ages / First-Time Visitors

  • Guides

    Picnic Guide

    Central Park is home to lawns, benches, and picnic tables across its 843 acres, providing countless great picnic spots.

    Tags: Kids and Families / Wildlife

  • Kids & Families

    Harlem Meer Summer Festival: Family Yoga Class with Harlem Yoga

    Tags: Families / Summer / All Ages / First-Time Visitors

  • Events

    Halloween Entertainment and Activities

    Come dressed in your Halloween costume and join us for crafts, not-so-spooky stories from our friends at the New York Public Library, and magical entertainment from Rogue the Magician.

    Tags: Staff Picks / Kids and Families

  • Events

    27th Annual Central Park Holiday Lighting

    Celebrate the season with our 27th Annual Holiday Lighting in Central Park! Hosted by the Greensward Circle, come meet Santa and friends, sing carols on the Plaza, and warm up with hot cocoa while enjoying a variety of seasonal activities. The event concludes with the lighting of a flotilla of trees on the Harlem Meer.

    Tags: Best for Kids / Kids and Families

  • Events

    Halloween on the Harlem Meer

    Come see the Harlem Meer get spooky! Join us for a host of FREE family-friendly activities. Costumes encouraged!

    Tags: Staff Picks / Kids and Families

  • Kids & Families

    Summer on the Harlem Meer: Play

    12:00 am

    Explore recreational opportunities for all ages!

    Tags: Staff Picks / Nature Lovers / Kids and Families

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Harlem Meer Movement: Silver Sneakers Dance Class with Go Hard Dance (Seniors Only)

    Tags: Summer / All Ages / First-Time Visitors

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