Designed by Calvert Vaux to resemble a Victorian country cottage and completed in 1871, the Dairy is located at the heart of the Children’s District—the area of the Park created specifically for its youngest visitors.
Originally, the Dairy was an eatery where children could get fresh milk, which wasn’t readily available to many urban families. Refreshments were served under the Dairy’s porch, where visitors could enjoy cool breezes from the nearby Pond. The large rolling lawn in front of the building provided a place for children to play.
The structure eventually deteriorated and was closed to the public in the mid-20th century. The restoration of the building was one of the first projects of the Conservancy. In 1979 it reopened as the Park’s first visitor center. Today the Dairy is a starting spot for many Conservancy tours and place for visitors to obtain maps, ask staff questions, and buy books, gifts, and many other items.
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Things you can do here
Explore one of the most popular areas of Central Park — from the Children’s District to the smallest of the Park’s woodland landscapes.
Tags: History / Art & Architecture
Escape to the oasis within the City and enjoy newly restored landscapes full of blooming flowers.
Tags: Art & Architecture / Plants and Trees
Discover one of Central Park’s best-kept secrets, home to many native plant species and wildlife, on this guided tour of the Hallett Nature Sanctuary and its surrounding landscapes.
Tags: Wildlife / Plants and Trees
Also in the area
Not long after construction of Central Park began, the Park’s designers created the Children’s District in the lower end of the Park.
Tags: Families / Best for Kids
Things to See and Do
We set out to capture some of their stories and create a picture of the Park on an average day, through our visitors' eyes.
Tags: Families / Summer
Restoration and Maintenance
Discover what Park features and destinations the Central Park Conservancy is improving this fall.
Tags: Conservancy Staff