Conservatory Water

Conservatory Water is a beloved Central Park destination filled with attractions geared toward children.

Its main feature is an ornamental pond, also known as the Model Boat Pond, where children and hobbyists launch and race miniature sailboats and yachts. These are stored and rented at the nearby Kerbs Boathouse, which also houses a cafe. The edges of the water, lined with benches, are popular spots for relaxing and watching boats and people. The area also draws visitors to two significant statues: Alice in Wonderland, one of the most popular statues in the Park, and the monument to the children’s book author Hans Christian Andersen. In the winter, when the water freezes all the way through, the pond is also open for ice skating.

Model boating draws from a long tradition in Paris parks such as the Jardin du Luxembourg. Visitors to Conservatory Water also may recognize it as a setting in E.B. White’s 1945 story, Stuart Little, and its 1999 film adaptation.

The pond is named for the conservatory (a large glass and metal greenhouse) that was originally planned for the site but never realized. It was designed as a reflecting pool and its regular shape and edge provide a contrast to the Park’s other more naturalistic water bodies.

Looking across the water to the boathouse and trees on the far side and the buildings of Fifth Avenue behind them.

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