Dairy Visitor Center & Gift Shop

Photo by Timothy Schenck

The Dairy is a historic building that is now a visitor center and gift shop managed by the Central Park Conservancy.

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.

Behind the Park: The Dairy

Hear from Conservancy staff on the Dairy’s fascinating past and our latest restoration of this historic structure.

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.

Can't make it to the Park? Find exclusive Central Park gifts in our online shop.

Park-goers congregate in dappled spring sunlight outside the Dairy

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