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Belvedere CastleThe Highlights
Created by Calvert Vaux in 1869, Belvedere Castle is one of the Park's five visitor centers.
Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in the late 1800’s, Belvedere Castle is a whimsical structure looking out on the reservoir to the north (now the Great Lawn) and the Ramble to the south. Belvedere provides the highest and best views of the Park and the adjacent cityscape. The castle's name is fitting, because it translates to "beautiful view" in Italian. An architectural hybrid of Gothic and Romanesque styles, it contains exhibit rooms and an observation deck, and since 1919, has been the location of the official Central Park weather station. The Observatory contains family-friendly displays that demonstrate the process by which naturalists observe their world and share their scientific discoveries about it. The displays, which include telescopes, microscopes, skeletons and feathers, are designed to introduce children to the fundamentals of the scientific method in natural observation. Other Observatory exhibits include a plywood tree with papier-mâché reproductions of birds often seen in Central Park, encouraging people to watch for these birds from the precipice of the castle, which has become one of New York's most popular birdwatching sites. Free family and community programs hosted at Belvedere Castle include birding programs, stargazing, astronomy talks and storytimes with the Princess of Belvedere Castle.