horse-drawn carriage ride around Central Park for tourists and locals alike can be cozy…if a little corny and pricey. While some consider them to be a romantic throwback to a bygone era,  other New Yorkers are peeved by what they, err, leave behind. Vocal animal welfare groups have leveled serious charges about what they say are poor working conditions.

In fact, a recent petition drive by New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets gathered more than 71,000 signatures in favor of retiring the carriage horses. Mayor Michael Bloomberg doesn’t seem to be overly concerned though.  So, if you’re still interested in taking a carriage ride around the park with your honey or an out-of-town visitor, here’s the skinny:

Photo Credit: ThinkStock

Hours: Mon to Fri – 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sat to Sun – 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Walk-ups only

One of the first sites as you make your way to Manhattan’s backyard, Central Park, features a multitude of horse-drawn carriages lined up and waiting to offer on-the-spot rides. Carriage rides operate practically year-round, unless the temperature rises above 89 degrees or goes below 19 degrees. On average, the rides last between 20 and 40 minutes, though you have the option to add more time for an additional fee. Give in to your inner tourist, and hop into the carriage to see some of New York’s most popular sights including the carousel, the Central Park Zoo, the mall, the dairy, Turtle Pond and Wollman Rink.

Hours: Mon to Fri – 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sat to Sun – 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Reservations requiredSkip the line and schedule a pre-arranged ride to ensure a carriage is ready when you want it. The price of the ride will vary depending on length, which ranges between 45 and 90 minutes. With this option you’ll get to see additional sites from what the standard walk-up ride offers like the Boat Pond, the Great Lawn and the Bethesda Fountain. You can customize the ride even further by adding photography, flowers and even a special pick-up or drop-off location.

Photo Credit: ThinkStock

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Price: Extended rides start at $173.23

Hours: Mon to Fri – 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sat to Sun – 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Reservations Required

Take in everything Central Park has to offer with one of the extended tours through Manhattan Carriage Ride. These hour-plus excursions will take you through almost all of the park with up-close views of quintessential landmarks such as Strawberry Fields, The Museum of Natural History, Tavern on the Green, the lake, Columbus Circle, Cherry Hill and Sheep’s Meadow. Customize your ride to have roses or champagne waiting in the carriage.

(credit: centralparkhorses.com)

Hours: Mon to Sat -– 9 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.; Sun – 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Reservations required

For those who want to see a little more than Central Park, the Times Tour is for you. This ultimate, 90-minute tour will take you through the excitement and sparkle of Times Square, the spectacular views of Rockefeller Center plus everything Central Park has to offer. You’ll see Broadway, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, Planet Hollywood, 42nd Street, NBC Studios, the Rainbow Room, Radio City Music Hall, MoMa, Tiffany, Saint Patrick Cathedral, Wollman Rink, the carousel and Balto’s statue.

Related: PopUp New York: Central Park’s Hidden Gems

Traci Tournoux is a freelance writer living in New York. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.