NYC Resources311Office of the Mayor

Nature Centers

Urban Park Rangers at a nature center

New York City parks are home to 15 Urban Park Ranger Nature Centers. Each serves as an in–park community center for public education, recreational activities, and environmental studies. The centers serve as starting points for walking tours and workshop sites for educational programs for the whole family. Other reasons to check out our nature centers: exhibits highlighting the diversity of our landscape and an abundance of informational written material like trail maps, nature center brochures, and Outdoors in NYC, the Rangers' quarterly newspaper and calendar. Come visit!

Locations

Alley Pond Adventure Center

Alley Pond Adventure Center


Location: Alley Pond Park
Winchester Boulevard & Grand Central Parkway
Phone: (718) 217-4685 or (718) 217-6034
Hours: Open by appointment only.
Directions:

By car: Westbound, Grand Central Parkway: (From Long Island) Get off at Exit 23. Follow signs for Union Turnpike. Make a left on Union Turnpike at the traffic light. Proceed until you reach Winchester Blvd. and make a left at the light. Pass the large hospital on your right. Immediately make the next left under the highway into the park. Follow this entry road into the parking lot. The Alley Pond Nature Center is visible across the soccer field.
Eastbound, Grand Central Parkway (From Manhattan and western Queens) Get off at Exit 23. Bear right on the ramp. At the stop sign make a left onto Winchester Blvd. immediately make the next left under the highway into the park. Follow this entry road into the parking lot. The Alley Pond Nature Center is visible across the soccer field.

Public transportation: Take the E or F train to the Union Turnpike station. Transfer to the Q46 bus and get off at the Winchester Boulevard stop. Walk north on Winchester towards the highway overpass. The entrance is on your left underneath the Grand Central Parkway. Walk across the parking lot and soccer field to the Nature Center.

Accessible

Alley Pond Environmental Center


Location: Alley Pond Park
228-06 Northern Boulevard
Phone: (718) 229-4000
Hours: (September-June) Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m; Sunday 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Closed Sundays in July and August and some holidays. Please call ahead if you are unsure.
Directions:

Public transportation: Flushing Line (#7 train) to Main St.; Q12 bus to Northern Blvd.(East). APEC has a bus stop just outside the Center. It is the first building on the right after the X-Island Parkway. The Long Island Railroad also stops at Bayside, where you can walk south to Northern Blvd. and catch the Q12 bus.

Forest Park Visitor Center

Forest Park Visitor Center


Location: Forest Park
Woodhaven Boulevard & Forest Park Drive
Phone: (718) 846-2731
Hours: Open by appointment and for registered and scheduled activities.
Directions:

Public transportation: Take the G, R, V or J trains to Woodhaven Boulevard Transfer to the Q11 bus (Green Bus Line) or the Q53 (Triboro Coach Corp) along Woodhaven Boulevard If coming from the G, R or V, take the bus south about 20 minutes. If coming from the J, take the bus north about 5 minutes. There is a bus stop near the Visitor Center at Woodhaven Boulevard and Forest Park Drive.

Accessible

Fort Totten Visitors Center


Location: Fort Totten Park
212th Street and Bell Boulevard
Phone: (718) 352-1769
Hours: April 1 - October 31 open to the public Saturday and Sunday 12:00 noon - 4:00 pm, and for registered and scheduled activities at all other times. November 1 - March 31: open by appointment and for registered and scheduled activities.
Directions:

Driving: Cross Island Parkway north to exit 32 Bell Boulevard. Make a right at the traffic light. The parking lot is on the left side. A map of the park is located at the front gate.

Or take the Cross Island Parkway south to exit 34 Clearview Expressway. Make a left at the light onto Willet's Point Boulevard. Drive five traffic lights get in the left lane and make a left on 212 Street. Go underneath the Cross Island Parkway through the traffic light. The parking lot is on the left side.

Subway: Take the 7 to the last stop Flushing Main Street. Then transfer to the Q16 bus, located on 39th Ave and Union Ave to the last stop, Fort Totten. Follow signs inside of the park to the visitors center, located just behind the baseball field. Fort Totten is also accessible via the Q13 bus line.

Accessible

Audubon Center, Prospect Park

Audubon Center, Prospect Park


Location: Prospect Park
East Drive & Lincoln Road
Phone: (718) 287-3400
Hours: (April-December) Thursday-Sunday & holidays, 12 - 5 p.m. (January-March) Weekends and school holidays, 12 - 4 p.m.
Directions:

By car: From Manhattan via Manhattan Bridge: Go straight on Flatbush Avenue for about 2 miles until you reach Grand Army Plaza. Go halfway around the circle and continue on Flatbush Ave. (the Brooklyn Public Library will be on your left and the Park on your right). After you pass the Zoo and the Lefferts House on your right, make a right hand turn at the traffic light at Ocean Avenue. Follow Ocean Avenue to the next major intersection, which is Ocean and Parkside Avenues. Make a sharp right into the Park (diagonally across from McDonald’s). Proceed slowly on the Park Drive to the flashing light where you make a left into the Wollman Rink Parking Lot. You will be directed to the Audubon Center, a five minute walk from the parking lot.
From Long Island via Brooklyn-Queens Expressway: Exit at Tillary Street and turn onto Flatbush Avenue. Then follow the above directions: Manhattan via Manhattan Bridge.
From Staten Island via Verrazano Bridge: Follow Brooklyn Queens Expressway, Exit at Atlantic Avenue, making right onto Flatbush Avenue. Then follow the above directions: Manhattan via Manhattan Bridge.

Public transportation: Q, S or B trains to Prospect Park station. Exit at Lincoln Road and follow Lincoln Road to park entrance on Ocean Avenue. Walk along the roadway, cross the Drive and continue following the path downhill through the Cleft Ridge Span Bridge.

Accessible

The Salt Marsh Nature Center

The Salt Marsh Nature Center


Location: Marine Park
East 33rd Street and Avenue U
Phone: (718) 421-2021
Hours: April 1 - October 31: open to the public Saturday and Sunday 12:00 noon - 4:00 pm, and for registered and scheduled activities at all other times. November 1 - March 31: open by appointment and for registered and scheduled activities
Directions:

By car: Take the Belt Parkway to Kings Plaza exit, then north on Flatbush Avenue to Avenue U. Turn left on Avenue U and continue west for ten blocks. Pass 33rd Street and look for the parking lot on the right.

Public transportation: Take the B46, B2, or B41 to Kings Plaza, transfer for the westbound B3 bus to East 33rd Street and Avenue U.
Take the 2 or 5 train to Norstrand Avenue, then take the B41 to Kings plaza or B3 west to East 33rd & Avenue U.
Take the N, F, or Q trains to Avenue U, then the B3 Bus East to East 33rd Street and Avenue U.

Accessible

Visitors Center at Fort Greene Park


Location: Fort Greene Park
Dekalb Avenue, Washington Park, Myrtle Avenue & St. Edwards Street
Phone: (718) 722-3218
Hours: Open seven days a week from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Directions:

By car: From the Manhattan Bridge: Drive straight onto Flatbush Avenue, make a left on Myrtle Avenue, and the park will be on your right after five blocks.
From the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE): Take the Manhattan Bridge/Tillary Street exit. Make a left on Flatbush Avenue, then a left on Myrtle Avenue.

Public transportation: Take the BMQR trains to Dekalb Avenue. The park and visitors center is then about 5 blocks north on Dekalb. OR Take the C train to Lafayette or the G train to Fulton and walk two blocks west.
Bus: Take the B38 bus on Dekalb or the B54 bus on Myrtle Avenue to the park.

Belvedere Castle Visitor Center

Belvedere Castle Visitor Center


Location: Central Park
W. 81st St and the West Drive
Phone: (212) 772-3751
Hours: Open Tuesday - Sunday from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Directions:

Public transportation: From the west side, take the B, C or M10 to 81st Street. Enter the Park on the Northeast corner of 81st Street and Central Park West. Follow the path east until you hit the West Drive. You will see the Delacorte Theatre ahead of you and just behind it stands Belvedere Castle.
From the East Side, take the M1, 2, 3, 4 to the South West entrance at 79th Street and 5th Avenue, the castle is south of the Great Lawn. Walk west up Cedar Hill, across the Central Park Drive. Look for the Belvedere Castle sign and walk up the hill. Take the 6 train to 77th Street. Walk north two blocks to 79th Street. Walk east to 5th Avenue. Follow directions for the East Side.
Take the 6 train to 77th Street. Walk north two blocks to 79th Street. Walk east to 5th Avenue. Follow directions for the East Side.

Dana Discovery Center

Dana Discovery Center


Location: Central Park
110th St. & Lenox Ave
Phone: (212) 772-3751
Hours: Open Tuesday - Sunday from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Directions:

Public transportation: 2,3 Train to 110th St. station, use 110th St. entrance to park.

Accessible

Inwood Hill Nature Center

This Nature Center is currently closed. Details
Due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, this facility is closed until further notice.

Inwood Hill Nature Center


Location: Inwood Hill Park
218th and Indian Road
Phone: (212) 772-3751
Hours: The nature center is currently closed for repairs.
Directions:

By car: From the West Side Highway: Take the Dyckman Street exit. Follow the exit as it merges with Broadway. Drive North on Broadway to 218th Street. Take a left on 218th Street and drive west on 218th Street. The entrance to the park is at the end of the street. The Nature Center is located in Inwood Park.
From FDR/East River Drive: Take the FDR/East River Drive north to end. The end of the highway is at Dyckman Street. Bear left on Dyckman Street. Take Dyckman west to Broadway, and take a right on Broadway. Proceed north to 218th Street and make a left turn. The entrance to the park is at the end of 218th Street.

Public transportation: Take the 1 or the 9 train to the 215th Street stop. Walk North to 218th Street. Take a left and walk on 218th Street. The entrance to the park is at the end of the street. The Nature Center is located in Inwood Park. OR Take the A train to 207th Street. If you are in the last car of the train (near the handicap elevator), proceed west to Seaman Avenue, then north to Isham Street. If you are in the first car of the train, you will exit onto Isham Street. Go west to Seaman Avenue and proceed north into the park, keeping the baseball field to your right. Walk toward the Water. The Nature Center is the building on the water.

Blue Heron Nature Center

Blue Heron Nature Center


Location: Blue Heron Park
222 Poillon Avenue between Amboy Road and Hylan Blvd
Phone: (718) 967-3542
Hours: Open by appointment and for registered and scheduled activities.
Directions:

By car: Take the Verrazano Bridge to the S.I. Expressway (Route 278) to Hylan Boulevard exit. Take a right on Poillon Avenue and proceed 1/5 mile to park entrance and parking lot on your left. OR S.I. Expressway to West Shore Expressway (towards NJ outer Bridge) Exit at Huguenot Avenue and make a left onto Huguenot Avenue.
Stay right at split in road. Proceed on Huguenot and take a left on Amboy Road. Take a right on Poillon Avenue and proceed to park entrance and parking lot on your right.
By Ferry: Take the S78 bus along Hylan Boulevard to Poillon Avenue, take a right on Poillon. Walk 1/5 of a mile to park entrance and Nature Center
From the Annadale S.I.R.T. station walk six blocks toward Amboy road. Take right onto Poillon Avenue, walk 1/5 of a mile to park entrance and Nature Center.

Accessible

Greenbelt Nature Center


Location: Latourette Park & Golf Course
700 Rockland Avenue at the intersection of Brielle Avenue.
Phone: (718) 351-3450
Hours: (April-December) Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays, major holidays and on Easter.
Directions:

Public transportation: Take the S57 bus to the Brielle and Rockland Ave. stop. Cross the street at the light.

The High Rock Nature Center


Location: High Rock Park
Nevada Avenue off Rockland Avenue
Phone: (718) 667-6042
Hours: Open by appointment only.
Directions:

By car: (From the Verrazano Bridge) S.I. Expressway (Route 278) west to Slosson Avenue/Todt Hill Road exit. Make left at 2nd Traffic light onto Manor Road. Take Manor Road to Rockland Avenue and make a left. Proceed on Rockland Avenue to Nevada Avenue. Make a left on Nevada Avenue and proceed to the end of the road.
(From the South Shore) Take Arthur Kill Road to Richmondtown and turn right onto Richmond Road. Proceed on Richmond Road to Rockland Ave (second light). Turn right at Nevada Avenue and continue up the hill to the parking lot.

Public transportation: Take the S61, S62, or S66 bus to the intersection of Victory Boulevard and Manor Road. Transfer to the S54 bus on Manor Road and exit at Nevada Avenue. Walk up Nevada Avenue through the parking lot and up the hill to the Visitor's Center.

Crotona Park Nature Center

Crotona Park Nature Center


Location: Crotona Park
Crotona Park East & Charlotte Street
Phone: (718) 378-2061
Hours: Open by appointment and for registered and scheduled activities.
Directions:

By car: Cross Bronx Expressway driving north/east: Take Webster Avenue exit, turn right onto Webster, then left onto Claremont Parkway. Drive through the park to Boston Road, then make a left. Turn left on Suburban than left on Crotona Park East. Park at Charlotte Street & Crotona Park East.
Cross Bronx Expressway driving south/west: Take Third Avenue exit, making a left on Third Avenue, then next left onto Cross Bronx Expressway service road. Bear right and do not get back on the highway. Follow the park around, turning right at Crotona Park East. park at Crotona Park East & Charlotte Street.

Public transportation: Take the Bx11 to Claremont Parkway/Crotona Park East
Bx17 to Crotona Avenue/Claremont Parkway

Orchard Beach Nature Center

Orchard Beach Nature Center


Location: Pelham Bay Park
Orchard Beach, Section 2 of the Beach
Phone: (718) 885-3466
Hours: Memorial Day - Labor Day: open to the public Saturday and Sunday noon - 4:00 pm.
Directions:

By car: From the south: take I-95 (Bruckner Expressway) North. Get off at Exit 8B (Orchard Beach/City Island). Go pass the war memorial, over the Pelham bridge, and make the first right at the traffic light immediately following the drawbridge (taking the yield sign). This will put you on City Island Road. Continue to the Traffic circle and follow the traffic circle three quarters of the way around, following the signs for Orchard Beach. Continue to the Orchard Beach parking lot. Walk to the boardwalk and turn left. Continue to the Nature Center at Section 2 of the Beach. The distance is about 200 Yards.
From the west: Take Pelham Parkway East all the way to the end, where it turns into Shore Road. Follow the above directions from the drawbridge.

Public transportation: Take the Bx12 and Bx5 buses

Pelham Bay Nature Center


Location: Pelham Bay Park
Bruckner Blvd. and Wilkinson Avenue
Phone: (718) 319-7258
Hours: Open by appointment and for registered and scheduled activities.
Directions:

By car: Take I-95 to the Pelham Bay Park Exit. Continue on the service road until the park is on your right and the highway is on your left. After passing the entryway for the highway continue to the stoplight. Then stay right and continue to the park.

Public transportation: Take the 6 train to the last stop in the Bronx, Pelham Bay Station. Instead of walking down the stairs from the station, cross the walkway over I-95. At the bottom of the ramp on the other side, turn left into the park.
The center is a red brick building about 100 yards inside the park.
Take the BX5, BX12 and QBX1 buses to the train station.
Take the BX29 to the City Island Traffic Circle
Westchester Bee-Line bus #45 to the Bartow-Pell Mansion gates (Bus does not run on Sunday).

Van Cortlandt Nature Center

Van Cortlandt Nature Center


Location: Van Cortlandt Park
246th Street and Broadway
Phone: (718) 548-0912
Hours: April 1 - Memorial Day and Labor Day to October 31: open to the public Saturday and Sunday 12:00 noon - 4:00 pm, and for registered and scheduled activities at all other times.
Directions:

By car: Take the Major Deegan/I-87 to Van Cortlandt Park South exit. Take the off ramp to the extreme right to the stoplight. Continue through the stop light then stay right and continue to the stop sign next to the park. Follow the road to a yellow gate just north of the end of an elevated train. Enter the yellow gate and continue on the road to the black fence. Enter the yellow gate and continue on the road to the black fence. Make a left turn at the black fence and park in the small lot. The Nature Center is the building with the orange front door.

Public transportation: Take the 1 or 9 train to the 242nd Street stop. Walk north on Broadway. Enter the park at W.246th Street and follow the signs to the center.
Take the Bx9 bus to the 242nd Street stop. Walk north on Broadway. Enter the park at W.246th Street and follow the signs to the center.

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