Prospect Park Zoo
As children we would find ourselves visiting the zoo quite often. Located in Prospect Park, it was close to our home. We would spend hours seeing the animals and making a fun day of our visit. On one of those early visits, I recall my cousin (who loves lions) sticking her hand in the lion cage and almost getting her hand bitten off. The story goes that my quick response pulled her out of harms way. Til this day, whenever we recall our days in Brooklyn, she always make is point to remind me of my deed (lol, I was a child but I knew better).
The zoo has some really wonderful animals on view so, if you find yourself in the area visiting the Brooklyn Museum or the Botanic Gardens, extend your visit and take a walk in Prospect Park to the zoo. The children always have a wonderful time seeing the animals.
$6 for Adults, $2.25 for Seniors over 65 and $2 for children 3-12. Children under 3 are free.
Open 365 days of the year.
April-October Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm. Saturday, Sunday and holidays, 10am-5:30pm
November-March, 10am-4:30pm every day
Historic Aircraft Restoration Project
On Floyd Bennett Field, in Hangar B, there is a group who works (in their spare time) to restore old aircraft. Tours are given of the facility (they are free) each weekend by the park service. There are also displays that describe a bit about the project and the exhibits. You also get to see these people working on the planes and what an extremely tedious and obviously time consuming project this is. In the summer, this is a great place to be because the hangar doesn't get very hot, but in the winter, be sure you dress very warmly. Like many of the buildings on Floyd Bennett Field, this one is old and drafty with no heat. I led a program here in the winter on the history of NYPD aviation and I am pretty suprised my group didn't freeze to death.
Here's a list of some of the aircraft you can see in Hangar B:
Grumman HU-16E (Albatross)
Douglas C-47A (Skytrain)
Beech SNB-5 (Navigator)
Lockheed SP-2E (Neptune)
Consolidated PBY-5A (Catalina)
Sikorsky HH-3F (Pelican)
Bell UH-1H (Iroquois)
Douglas A-4B (Skyhawk)Related to:
- Historical Travel
Gerritsen Creek Salt Marsh and Nature Center
This place is pretty new and an good example of successful and excellent revitalization, in my opinion. It's on Gerritsen Creek, part of the Jamaica Bay watershed, not far from anything I've mentioned in my other tips. There is a building, the Nature Center with hands on exhibits for kids (and people like me!), displays, ranger led activities and lectures. The building itself is very nice.
I should definitely mention, the unlike my other tips, this isn't a National Park Service site, it's run by City Parks (NYC), Urban Park Rangers.
The programs they give are great--birdwatching, butterflies, stargazing (yes, in Brooklyn, you can even see the stars) , sunset walks...they used to have an open house each weekend with music and refreshements, but since they have now been ope for more than 3 years, i would check on that.
The trails are great too, there's a little bridge that goes out to basin and you can see excellent examples of thriving salt marshes, something that's a huge concern in this area, understandably. There's a huge variety of birds as well---ducks and loons in the fall, terns, egrets, herons.
ALL of the programs are free, by the way.Related to:
- Family Travel
All of the great bridges lead in and out of Brooklyn, I think. The GW is impressive, but I think the Verrazano is amazing. You can't help but stare at the massive structure each time you drive by. It's expensive to go over now, though--$8.00 out of Brooklyn to Staten Island. But, I still love it
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge (Actually in Queens)
Mostly everything I'm going to mention is located in the south part of Bklyn and Queens anyway, so I am going to merge the information into one travel page
So, the JBWR is the only wildlife refuge run by the National Park Service (the others are through Fish and Wildlife) and it's part of Gateway National Recreation Area. If I am considering Bklyn and Queens to be NYC's unlikely destinations, then a National Park in the city sure fits in to this category. The wildlife refuge is pretty much a nice expanse of open land, with trails and 2 ponds. It's located right on the Atlantic Flyway, and the variety of birds that come through there is incredible. It's well over 300 different kinds. There are programs given there, like in every National Park, as well as self guided trails with interpretive signs and brochures. Birders come out here everyday, parents with their children and it's amazing how few people that live in NY know about this place. I definitely recommend visiting, especially during spring migrationRelated to:
- Family Travel
- National/State Park
Tour the Brooklyn Brewery
On Fridays and Saturdays the Brewery opens its doors for free tours and you can drink in what is a huge open room with drunk people swarming around picnic tables. All their own beers on tap. Brooklyn Lager, gotta try it.Related to:
- Beer Tasting
- Arts and Culture
Must Taste...Chocolate in DUMBO
Jacques Torres Chocolate...oh my goodness! A lovely cafe, "home" made chocolate, and a grungy-artsy surrounding. It's a lovely nook in DUMBO...located between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. You can have lovely drinks, lovely snacks, and every sense will be on the verge of overstimulation.
Open Monday through Saturday from 9-7.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Food and Dining
A view to die for
Green-Wood Cemetery is beautiful. If the bbq crowds at Prospect, Sunset, Owl's Head, and Reid parks get too much, and you still want some greenery and strolling grounds, stop by the Cemetery.
You can check out cool grave markers, look at all the names and dates, peek at the stained glass, watch birds, admire the view from the highest point in Brooklyn, or just have a very pleasant walk.
Bring a bottle of water and good walking shoes. The place is huge. You can pick up a handy-dandy map of the cemetery at the main gate on 25th Street or on 8th Avenue and 20th Street. Check out the web site for more information and to see who is buried there.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
Located in the heart of downtown Brooklyn, Metrotech center is a small spot of nature. Businesses and Polytechnic University surround the square. The square has art sculptures placed throughout, and many of them change. Its a nice spot for some lunch or to people watch.
A great people watching location! Brooklyn College is located in Midwood and was nominated as one of America's most beautiful campuses (forgot what year though). The campus is beautiful, the buildings have wonderful architecture, and you can meet all sorts of people here (because the student body is so diverse).
Walking in Brooklyn
I used to love walking in Brooklyn; it was almost like an escape from the craziness of Manhattan. It’s a fairly large suburb which is for the most part residential, though in some places, especially the busy areas, you could easily think you were in Manhattan. However, Brooklyn does feel so much more open than Manhattan as it has none of the skyscrapers which dominate Manhattan.
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This pleasant area is the favorite area for the locals to spend nice days. If you visit it on a deserted day, the atmosphere of nostalgia and longing of the many immigrants who have walked this road will transfer to you.
Coney Island Mermaid Parade
Nothing says summer like the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. best yet, let your freak flag fly by dressing up in your best aquatic get up and joining the parade. Its only $10 to become part of the parade and its hella fun.
if that's not your thing than just watch the sites from the sidelines.
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Jehovah Witness "Bethel"
Near the Brooklyn Bridge you will see two huge buildings that have WATCHTOWER on them. These are the printing facilities for all of the material the Jehovah's Witness organization sends out. I studied their literature for a while and found it quite interesting and informative. I toured the facilities and they were very gracious since I was a bit late! It really is interesting to see everything. All of the workers are working for FREE!! It's amazing.
Although the religion is often questionable, the people are friendlier than I've ever known and they love to share their history and literature with anyone with an open ear.
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Brooklyn Bridge Park
The park under the Brooklyn Bridge and alongside the Manhattan Bridge is probably one of the best places to view the skyline of NY and experience a vibe that is all Brooklyn. The park includes a sculpture garden and is the perfect place to have a picnic, gathering, or (as you would see on any given Saturday), wedding photos.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
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