Delacorte Clock

The Delacorte Clock spans a section of path between the Central Park Zoo and the Tisch Children’s Zoo. The Clock’s animated menagerie of musical animals announces the time every half hour between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm.

At the very top of the Clock two bronze monkeys hammer on a bell that activates a track below, on which five bronze statues of animals playing instruments rotate to a soundtrack of nursery rhymes and other tunes. The seasonal selection of music is now digital; the Clock’s electrical system was updated and replaced in 2017 by the Conservancy.

The Clock was the gift to the Park from the publisher and philanthropist George Delacorte. While traveling in Europe, Delacorte was inspired by the animated clocks he saw in medieval town squares. Upon his return, he approached Parks Commissioner Robert Moses about creating a modern version that would be particularly appealing to children who visited Central Park.

The Spanish artist and designer Fernando Texidor collaborated with American architect Edward Coe Embury to create the arcade, which appears architecturally integrated into the Zoo buildings. The bronze animals that decorate the Clock, a penguin, kangaroo, bear, elephant, goat, and hippo, were created by Italian sculptor Andrea Spadini. The Clock was unveiled in 1965.

George Delacorte funded some of the Park’s best-known features. In addition to the Clock, he gifted the popular sculpture, Alice in Wonderland in 1959 and sponsored the construction of Delacorte Theater in 1962.

Detail of the hare and penguin figures of the Clock.

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