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BEST PLAYGROUND IN MANHATTAN? BILLY JOHNSON PLAYGROUND! (NEW)

INSIDE: Everything you need to know about Billy Johnson Playground in Central Park  after the recent renovation. 

Where in New York City can you find a playground with a super-dooper fun GRANITE SLIDE SLIPPERY DIP?

This Billy Johnson playground granite slide is double the fun when you ride down on a piece of cardboard.

BYO, or borrow a piece from a fellow family, and you are all set.

Billy Johnson playground in Central Park is the place, and it’s recently reopened after a big renovation and refurbishment.

This Central Park playground is one for your list if you are visiting NYC with a toddler.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, we may receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you.

image - billy johnson playground new
Image credit:Brian Corsi

The Awesome Billy Johnson Playground Slide

The Billy Johnson 14 foot playground slide made from granite is by far the most popular feature at this park.

THIS is the famous big slide in Central park New York.

It’s still there.

Thank goodness.

My boys spent over an hour racing up through the log maze and back down the slide.


RELATED: Big List of Best Things to do in NYC with Kids

image - billy johnson playground new york granite slide 800

New York City Granite slide

Things only got better when a new friend gifted Ned his old piece of cardboard.

Then it was time to whizz down the slide even faster!

image - billy johnson timber playground

Image credit: Jesse Spector

The New Billy Johnson Playground New York

The Billy Johnson Playground, located in the park near East 67th Street, has recently undergone a restoration to add several new features, including more new water jets.

Plus, there’s a giant climbing net and fort with multiple platforms on different levels.

image - billy johnson playground steps

Image credit: Emily Anderson

(The new stairs next to the granite slide for toddlers)

NEW! A Granite Slide for Toddlers in New York

There’s a second matching granite slide on the left of the original one – a smaller version for toddlers in New York City.

image - billy johnson water playground

Image credit: Matt Binetti

Sandbox play at the Billy Johnson Playground NYC

The sandpit with ‘walk the plank’ benches for running along, or sitting upon remains intact.

image - Billy Johnson Playground sandpit

BYO sandpit toys for the sandbox.

How about some of these:

  • A bucket and spade
  • ice cream scoops
  • cereal scoops
  • an old school whisk
  • cookie cutters

image - billy johnson water playground spouts

Image credit: Manuel Gonzalez

Water Playground at Billy Johnson park

The water playground inside Billy Johnson park is a flat mosaic space surround by amphitheater seating. There’s hidden water sprays in the ground.

Kids need to press the interactive button to start the flow of water at this water feature, then can jump and jive over the spraying fountains!

There’s a few more scattered around the place too, including under the bridge.

Great fun on a hot day.

When it’s cold and dry, this is a fab space for kids to act out their stories to a captured audience.

image - billy johnson playground bridge

Image credit: Pam Cheung

Nature Play in this Central Park Children’s Playground NYC

There’s all kinds of opportunities for imaginative play at Billy Johnson Playground.

Nature play is just one of them.

You’ll also find:

  • a stone bridge (the playground bridge is ideal Troll Bridge for fun storytelling games)
  • hide-and-seek pockets of fun

image - billy johnson swings
Image credit: Emily Anderson

Central Park Swings for toddlers

There’s a row with:

  • three new bucket swings
  • an all abilities swing
  • a tire swing too

All surrounded by the familiar natural rock formations you find throughout Central Park.

This revamped play area uses timber log framing, making it eye catching and enhancing the nature playground vibe too.

image - billy johnson playground entrance1

Image credit: Emily Anderson

Rustic Playground Design in NYC

The renovation has enhanced the playground’s current rustic and natural design by architect M. Paul Friedberg in the 1980s.

We love the mosaic circle with picnic bench, and stone circle seating, as well as the low hedge planting in and around the playground to break up the space.

There’s quite of bit of seating around the playground under the rustic entrance area, and near the swings too.

image - Billy Johnson Playground central park playground

Best Playground in Central Park Manhattan?

It’s definitely one of the best, because of that epic slide!

No other Central Park playground has a slide like it.

This is definitely a place to visit if you are in NYC with toddlers and preschoolers, and looking for a Central Park Adventure Playground.

The best thing is it is gated, and you can see the kids from almost anywhere in the park, unless they are hiding of course!

Central Park in early spring, New York

Where to eat in Central Park near Billy Johnson Playground

The nearest takeaway coffee and food is at the Dancing Crane Cafe

The menu features wide variety of meals, snacks, and beverages for both Park and Zoo visitors.

Plus, there’s indoor and outdoor seating.

image - billy johnson playground sign

Image credit: Source unknown

FAQ about the Billy Johnson Playground Central Park

No.1: What is the Billy Johnson playground history?

It was built in the mid-1980’s, the result of a design competition to revamp the old tired playground that stood there. M. Paul Friedberg was the winner, and the outcome was the first adventure playground of its’ kind in New York City.

No.2: Who is the Billy Johnson playground named after?

Research tells me it was name after journalist and onetime editor of the now-defunct New York Tribune, but I cannot find any sources to back this up, so perhaps the mystery is not yet solved?

No.3: Is the Billy Johnson playground closed?

No! It’s now open again after its’ recent refurbishment. Hallelujah!

Autumn Central Park

THE INSIDE SCOOP: Billy Johnson Playground Renovation

Correct at time of publication on Roam the Gnome. Please check with venue for updates. We apologise in advance if there have been any changes we are unaware of. All prices in US dollars, unless otherwise stated

Address: Billy Johnson playground is at East Side at East 67th Street and Fifth avenue.
Telephone: 212-310-6600 – Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm  (Central park conservancy)
Website: Click here

Billy Johnson Playground Opening Hours

Central Park is free and open to visitors 365 days a year. Central Park opens at 6:00 am and closes at 1:00 am. Billy Johnson playground hours are from 8am to dusk.

Entry Fees

Free

image - Billy Johnson Playground sign

How to get to Central Park by Subway or other transport

By Subway Train: Q train (Yellow line)Stop at Lexington Av – 63 St Subway Station

By Subway Train: 4,5,6 Train (Green line) 68 Street Station

On Foot: Enter at the 65th street

By Taxi/Uber: Exit at 65th and 5th Ave

Central Park Parking

 There is no parking in Central Park.

Many parking garages are available nearby.

Central Park Playground Map

If you are on a Playground Hunt, check out this map of Central Park playgrounds.

Central Park Map – Billy Johnson Playground

Interactive Central Park Map: Find cafes, bathrooms, Central park activities, and more here. 

Facilities at Billy Johnson Central Park playground

Toilets: No. Closest toilets are at the Dancing Crane Cafe, or at Conservatory Water.
Disability access: Limited. It’s a bumpy, lumpy playground. There are no wheelchairs or scooters available for rent inside the Park.
Shade: No shade sail. Trees only.
Enclosed: Yes
Ground cover: Concrete pathways, sand, rubber flooring under swings
Picnic tables: No.
Electric BBQs: No
Water Bubblers/fountains: Yes
Scooters and Bikes: Yes, BYO. Plenty of bike and scooter pathways in Central Park.
Dogs: No

Toadstool Rating: Central Park Playground Billy Johnson

This is a classic NYC playground in Central Park.

Make a beeline – it’s one of the best Central Park attractions for kids.

billy johnson playground reviews

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saja

Tuesday 26th of February 2019

I'm an architect student and i work with my team to analysis this playground !!if you can help to give me more details for the project

Amber

Friday 1st of March 2019

Hi Saja, the Billy Johnson playground is in Central Park. Read the post as it has the address in it.


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