Many times when visitors think of “Great New York City Parks” they think about Central Park. And of Central Park is pretty great, amazing even, but it’s not the only park in New York to be so. I have written about Riverside Park, but not so much about Prospect Park, in Brooklyn. And though in this adventure, my family and I only visited a small segment of park, this small segment where they started their journey is, in my opinion, a great place to start for first time visiting families.
We were taking advantage of one of the sunniest weekend days we have had in a long time. The past few weekends have been overcast and threatened rain here and there, but this weekend was anything but that. As we made our way into Prospect Park Zoo, the boys were excited and already talking about the animals they wanted to see. However, much like Central Park Zoo, and unlike the Bronx Zoo, this location is much smaller, and the list of animals that can be seen are limited, however, it is a perfect visit, and I found it especially perfect for smaller children who often can get overwhelmed with too much at the same time.
The space is small and offers no cafeteria service other than vending machines with cold drinks and sandwiches (and maybe a small hot dog cart), but there is a nice eating area, so pack a picnic. The center of the zoo is the Sea Lion Court. When we arrived the sea lions were swimming around having fun and performing for the crowds.
Before we could make our way through the too see the animals though, the kids discovered the Discovery Center. This is a fun place for little ones to use their imagination and pretend they are scientists, or as my children did, pretend they are caring for the (plush) animals they had there with the (toy) veterinarian equipment at their disposal. They had books, and a tent resting area, and even a puppet stage to put on a show. My advice to any parent visiting the zoo however is, if possible, leave this spot for last in your trip because the kids do not, did not want to leave. And not only my kids – a few parents/caregivers were having problems moving along as well!
When we were finally able to convince our children that there was still so much more to see, we made it towards the Barn and Garden. We made our way past a short winding trail, across a wooden bridge where the kids stopped to admire the fish, and I took pictures of the flowers.
They walked into the barn and found sheep, cows, colts, baby chicks, and goats, resting peacefully in their barn, coming by to see if the hand greeting them had any snacks to offer. The boys enjoyed cow milking simulator and found it to be not as easy as one would think.
We then made our way through the Discovery Trail, the boys really enjoyed this location, and so did we. It was probably the most kid-friendly part of the zoo (for little ones). We saw kangaroos, and climbed up caves and tunnels. We jumped on lily pads, sat in eggshells and got caught in a giant spider web.
Next stop was the Animal Lifestyle center. The boys really enjoyed watching the baboons and other monkeys. They joined in as the crowd watched them playing and socialize with the others…with one of them even came up to the window to say hi.
Soon it was time for lunch, but not only for us but for the animals too! The sea lions were active and looking for their caregivers, calling out for their fish and splashing water at the crowd nearby as they did tricks and played around.
The day at the zoo was wonderful. For a zoo its size it really has a lot to offer, and again, a perfect spot for little ones to explore, play, and see some really great animals without getting overwhelmed.
As we exited the zoo, we walked further into the park, making our way to the Prospect Park Carousel located in “The Children’s Corner”. We walked past Lefferts House, which is a historic site representing 200 years of New York history, and though we didn’t walk in, we hope to do so on the next trip.
There was still so much more to see and do, but the kids had run out of steam, and so had twe. We made our way out the park, past the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and towards home. Another great adventure on another beautiful New York City day.
Check out Heart of Brooklyn website for information on activities and events taking place in and around Prospect Park!
I had left my camera home this day (gasp!!) so these images were taken with my iPhone.