Maybe you've wandered through Central Park dozens of times. You've seen Strawberry Fields, picnicked on the Great Lawn, and even rowed a boat on the Pond. But have you ever given the sculptures more than a passing glance?
There are 29 sculptures hiding within the 1.2-square-mile park, representing everything from famous authors to pouncing panthers.
Take a sculptural tour beginning at Grand Army Plaza (at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue) and its towering Pulitzer Fountain. Enter the park and head north to the bust of poet Thomas Moore.
Continue your walk towards the Children's Zoo where the Delacorte Musical Clock chimes on the half hour. The stone and brick monument is topped with a bell rung by two monkeys, while an odd assortment of bronze creatures dance below. Another animal statue, Balto, stands alert on the path just north of the Children's Zoo. This dog commemorates those who saved lives bringing medicine through snow storms during a 1925 epidemic in Nome, Alaska.
Head west from here and you'll encounter Christopher Columbus, one of the few non-writers that stands on the Mall's Literary Walk. Let your thoughts turn to pretty prose as you walk beneath William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott, Friedrich Schiller, Robert Burns, and the now-forgotten Fitz-Green Halleck.
On your way to the pond, look out for Eagles and Prey and The Falconer, as the scenery turns more natural. Head back to the eastern side of the park for a visit with The Pilgrim, Hans Christian Anderson (reading to a duck), and Alice in Wonderland who sits on an oversized mushroom conversing with the March Hare and Mad Hatter. Don't miss the Cheshire cat lurking over her shoulder.
Continue through the Ramble but beware the crouching panther perched on a rock outcrop. Safely sneak by and you'll be just behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art where a granite Alexander Hamilton stands near an Egyptian obelisk known as Cleopatra's Needle.
Skirt the eastern edge of the park and decipher the characters from Aesop's Fables represented in Osborn Gates. Find more fictional friends in Burnett Memorial Fountain, way up in Conservatory Garden (at 104th Street), where you can rest your tired feet with the main characters from the classic tale, The Secret Garden.