A Complete Guide To Prospect Park; History, Events, Zoo + Things To Do

New York, the quintessential American city, is a global metropolis unparalleled in its uniqueness and character.

Despite being the world’s most dominant business center (by virtue of its character), the other side of the Big Apple exudes an equally compelling lure.

In addition to the towering skyscrapers, grandiose monuments, fine restaurants, and exciting shopping districts, there are plenty of green spaces in and around the city.

This is especially true in Brooklyn; where several parks and gardens give the borough a neighborhood feel not found in many areas of New York.

Prospect Park as one of the best parks in Brooklyn is one of the calmer pursuits you can visit to escape the concrete jungle of New York.  It is not only one of the top 10 dog parks In Brooklyn, but also one of the Must-Visit Places in Brooklyn.

It offers a pleasant break from the daily humdrum of city life. Tourists sojourning the Big Apple with children are welcome to picnic in Prospect Park, attend free concerts, and partake in the many exercises this park offers.

Where Is Prospect Park

Prospect Park 1

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Prospect Park is located at 95 Prospect Pk W, Brooklyn, NY 11125, southwest of Parkside, southeast of Ocean Avenue, east of Washington Avenue, and north of Eastern Parkway.

At the north end of the park is Grand Army Plaza, overlooked by a massive Civil War Memorial arch. On the other side of the arch is the Brooklyn Public Library, which opened in 1941 in late art deco style.

Also near the park are the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and the monumental Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Who Designed Prospect Park

Prospect Park encompasses 526 acres of public space in the heart of New York’s most populous borough Brooklyn.

Designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, Prospect Park completely contrasts the usual icy image of New York.

Fredrick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux

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The park boasts lush greenery, large open spaces, and natural beauty, making it a must-visit place! Prospect Park is your answer to experiencing leaves changing colors and enjoying spring and fall.

Modeled after Central Park and designed by the same masterminds, Olmstead and Vaux, Prospect Park shares the same features: rolling hills, expansive gardens, and public spaces for concerts and ice rinks.

How Old Is Prospect Park (History)

Prospect Park History

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The history of Prospect Park, which celebrates its 155th anniversary this year, is quite interesting.

In fact, the idea for the park dates back to 1820.

The idea was to create a quiet place where New Yorkers could retreat and relax away from the compact hustle and bustle of the city. And although Central Park already existed, Walt Whitman, James Stranahan, and other pioneers advocated for a park that was distinctly Brooklyn.

Fort Greene Park emerged from these efforts. But time, resources, and bureaucracy stood in the way of building Prospect Park. It wasn’t until 1859 that everything came together.

Following the New York State Legislature act on April 18th, 1859, a 15-member commission was appointed in February 1860 to oversee the land acquisition and development of the park

In May 1866, the search for the perfect park design ended when the commission approved a design proposed by Calvert Vaux through James Stranahan.

Calvert Vaux was also awarded the contract to build the park and brought in Frederick Olmsted as a partner on the project.

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In October 1867, the first sections of Prospect Park were completed and opened to the public on the 19th.

The completed section consisted mainly of a children’s playground, croquet lawn, sailboat pond, maze, and summer house. It attracted more than 250,000 visitors per month.

Several rustic shelters, bridges, and aviaries were also built to improve the park’s scape.

Prospect Park was completed in 1873, but with the panic of 1873, some of the original facets of Vaux’s plan, such as the observation tower and Carriage Concourse, were not built. The panic also halted Vaux and Olmsted’s collaboration on building the park.

Prospect Park has had its fair share of success, decline, and revival. Over time, however, it has evolved considerably and is now Brooklyn’s most iconic park and one of the best parks in NYC.

If you are planning a trip to New York anytime soon, don’t miss this place. It’s the cheapest way to see sculptural masterpieces and pay homage to nature.

Things To Do In Prospect Park

There’s so much to do here, from watching or playing baseball to horseback riding to watching a concert or if you want to relax, lie down to sunbathe.

Here are some perfect places to visit on a day in Prospect Park:

Stroll through the Rolling Hills

If you like contemplative nature walks, start your journey at the entrance to Grand Army Plaza. The trail will take you to Long Meadow, a rolling green expanse that extends to a dark ridge of distant trees and is part of the Ravine at the park’s wild heart.

The views are breathtaking, and the scenery soothing.

Hike at the Ravine

Hike at the Ravine

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The Ravine, Brooklyn’s only forest, is very scenic and tranquil, with plenty of trees, wildlife, and relaxing hiking trails. There are also excellent bike trails.

It is among the favorite things to do in Prospect Park for friends, families, kids, and solo trips.

See wildlife at the Prospect Park Zoo

A wildlife sanctuary, the Prospect Park Zoo is a great spot to hang out while at Prospect Park.

wildlife

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The zoo is designed to replicate the natural habitat of various wildlife. From stunning red pandas to sea lions, colorful peacocks, Hamadryas baboons, and more, visiting the animals at Prospect Park Zoo is one of the best things to do in Prospect Park.

You might even see the Pallas Cat, an adorable feline native to Central Asia that the park has been charged with breeding and preserving.

Pallas Cat

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Catch a show at the Lena Horne Bandshell

Summertime in Prospect Park means lots of entertainment.

The Bandshell draws enormous crowds to see some big-name artists perform (for free). From indie rock, jazz, and classical concerts, go there to enjoy some great music in the outdoors.

Apart from hosting concerts all summer long, the Bandshell is also home to the annual BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn Festival, a free performing arts festival held in the park every summer.

 

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This summer’s lineup includes performances by soul godmother Erykah Badu, Texas band Khruangbin and jazz sensation Vieux Farka Toure.

Plan a picnic at Long Meadow

Plan a picnic at Long Meadow

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Long Meadow is the perfect place in Prospect Park to spend a beautiful day with friends and family.

Not only is it scenic, but it’s also the perfect place to hang out on a summer day. While having a delicious picnic with your friends and family, be sure to stroll across this mile-long meadow to take in the breathtaking views of the park on a clear day.

Up a Horse, and off you go!

A horseback ride through Prospect Park gives you the rare opportunity to take in the beauty of the surroundings while enjoying a leisurely ride through the park.

Go skating at Lakeside

Go skating at Lakeside

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At the LeFrak Center in Lakeside, you can enjoy countless skating and sports activities year-round. From ice hockey, ice skating, figure skating, and curling in the winter to roller skating, boating, and biking in the warmer months.

Splash Pad

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Step back in time at Lefferts Historic House

Lefferts Historic House

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Lefferts Historic House offers a glimpse into Brooklyn’s rural past through hands-on experiences, imaginative games, and cultural performances. The house consists of periodic rooms, historical artifacts, exhibits (inside and outside), and a working garden.

kids

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It is perfect for kids.

Smorgarsburg for your taste buds!

Smorgarsburg

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This food fest is the best thing to do in Prospect Park from April 3rd to October 30th each year.

The festival features over 100 vendors offering their best dishes from around the world.

Go shopping at the Greenmarket

Greenmarket

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You can buy fresh, local produce such as tomatoes, onions, and fruits at the Prospect Park Greenmarket.

 

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A historic carousel, the Audubon Center, and enclosed children’s playgrounds also contribute to Prospect Park’s people-friendly environment.

The park also hosts various special events and activities, including boot camps, family walks, workout sessions, yoga, and more. Although these change occasionally, there is always an event at Prospect Park.

In short, plan your day well and get to see most of what the park has to offer.

How To Get To Prospect Park

Like most of New York’s top attractions, Prospect Park is easily accessible by public transportation. You can also drive, but be aware that street parking is not easy to find here, and garage parking fees are pretty expensive.

What trains go to Prospect Park?

The 2, 3, F, Q, S, and B trains go to Prospect Park.

If you are going to the west side of the park, take the F train to 15th Street/Prospect Park, the park is directly across the street.

Take the B, Q, or S train to the park’s east side. All of these trains stop at the Prospect Park station. So exit and walk right to get into the park.

The 2 or 3 train lines will take you to the Grand Army Park station, the park’s north end. Disembark and walk south on Flatbush Avenue to enter the park.

walkway

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If you’re going by bus, take the following lines:

  • B12 to Parkside Avenue/Ocean Avenue
  • B43 to Grand Army Plaza or Ocean Avenue
  • B16 to Ocean Avenue/Parkside Avenue
  • B41 to Woodruff Avenue/Flatbush Avenue

Prospect Park Hours And Other Facts

95 Prospect Park W Brooklyn, NY 11215

Get directions

Phone: (718) 965-8951

Email: info@prospectpark.org

Visit website

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/prospect_park/

Hours

Prospect Park hours are subject to change depending on the time of year. The park’s attractions also have variable opening hours. So verify the opening and closing hours on the park’s official website before visiting.

  • Mon: 5:00 am – 1:00 am
  • Tue: 5:00 am – 1:00 am
  • Wed: 5:00 am – 1:00 am
  • Thur: 5:00 am – 1:00 am
  • Fri: 5:00 am – 1:00 am
  • Sat: 5:00 am – 1:00 am
  • Sun: 5:00 am – 8:00 pm

FAQs

How big is Prospect Park?

Prospect Park constitutes 526 acres (213 ha) of land.

See the Prospect Park running map below to get an idea of the park’s size.

Source: Prospectpark.org

How is the New Year’s Eve celebration at Prospect Park?

Over 7 million people flock to Prospect Park each year, with its New Year’s Eve celebration being the year’s highlight!

People travel from all over the world to see the fantastic and mesmerizing fireworks that take place in this park during New Year’s Eve celebrations. There’s also an entertainment program.

Are dogs allowed in Prospect Park?

Yes, the park allows dogs but they must be on a leash.

Between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. and between 9:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m., visitors with “off-leash” dogs are allowed in Prospect Park on the Peninsula, Long Meadow, Netherland, and Dog Beach. You can bring your dog here to walk, run or play.

Is there an admission fee at Prospect Park?

No, Prospect Park doesn’t charge an entrance fee.

However, the following areas and activities are paid-to-entry:

  • Prospect Park Zoo (adults $9.95, children under 12 $6.95, and seniors $7.95)
  • Lakeside (varies by event)
  • Carousel ($3 per ride)

Can I host a wedding in Prospect Park?

Yes.

Weddings are primarily held at the Picnic House overlooking Long Meadow and the Boathouse overlooking Lullwater. Both offer panoramic views and the perfect setting for weddings and other events.

How much is a wedding at Prospect Park?

Prices range from $3,500 to $7,000 per event with a $1,000 deposit (refundable) and a $500 surcharge for national holidays, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve.

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Prospect Park in New York City

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