by nycgo.com staff [Updated 05/06/2015]
Photo: Will Steacy
- top attractions/
If Prospect Park feels like Brooklyn's answer to Central Park, there's a reason—Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed both massive green spaces in the mid-19th century. For its part, the 585-acre Prospect Park is highlighted by the immense Long Meadow, whose name isn't just an empty boast—at almost 1 mile long, it may be the longest continuous meadow in any American park. The meadow is a popular site for sports and picnics. Prospect Park as a whole is home to endless recreational possibilities, including not only the usual suspects like jogging and biking but also such rare treats as dog swimming—four-legged New Yorkers can make a splash at Dog Beach. The beach is part of Prospect Park Lake, where visitors are also known to go fishing (it's a great place to catch largemouth bass—but anglers must abide by the "catch and release" rule). Prospect Park also contains Brooklyn's only remaining natural forest, which spans 250 acres (in total, the park features more than 30,000 trees).
Other notable Prospect Park attractions include Lefferts Historic House, where visitors can view artifacts, churn butter, start fires with flint and steel, sew and otherwise experience some of the rural activities that once characterized life in Flatbush; the Prospect Park Zoo, home to a wide array of animals you're unlikely to see frolicking through most parks, including red pandas and kangaroos; and the Prospect Park Bandshell, which during the summer hosts Celebrate Brooklyn!, a mostly free concert series that has showcased Sonic Youth, They Might Be Giants, David Byrne and more. A newer development, Lakeside, has year-round skating rinks, viewing terraces, a water feature and a café. Finally, the nearby Brooklyn Botanic Garden is one of the largest, most complete attractions of its kind; highlights include a scent garden for the blind and a serene Japanese tea garden. Other neighboring sights include the Brooklyn Museum and the gorgeous main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. For many more worthy attractions west of Prospect Park, check out our guide to Park Slope.