Ruth and Arthur Smadbeck-Heckscher East Playground

Ruth and Arthur Smadbeck-Heckscher East Playground is a small playground for young children located just south of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Central Park Conservancy rebuilt this playground in 2014 with various small-scaled play features, including a slide, sand areas, and swings.

Ruth and Arthur Smadbeck-Heckscher East Playground is also known as the “Three Bears Playground” for the sculpture located in a small plaza at the playground’s entrance, which children can climb on. Created by the artist Paul Manship, its official name is Group of Bears. On the other side of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is another version of this statue, atop the Osborn Gates at the entrance to Ancient Playground.

Central Park has 21 playgrounds that are unique in design and character. Most of them were built in the 1930s as part of a system of playgrounds located along the Park perimeter. The Conservancy regularly updates these spaces to include new equipment and infrastructure that reflect changing ideas about children’s play and safety and accessibility standards. Since 2011, the Conservancy has been working to rebuild or renovate all the Park’s playgrounds, with the goal of bringing each of them up to the same standard of excellence at the same time and focusing on making them feel more connected to the Park’s landscapes and experiences.

The circular play area features circular sandboxes and circular stools.
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