Must-See Prospect Park
by Heather Liang, 10/02/2013
The Boathouse. Photo: Will Steacy
If there's one thing Prospect Park is famous for, it's the abundance of nature that can be found there. If you're feeling adventurous, try out one of the park's nature trails. View the park's wetland and woodland habitats via the Lullwater Trail, which journeys along the park's watercourse; the Midwood Trail, venturing through the historic forest that was part of the park's original design; the Peninsula Trail, exploring the peninsula's restored natural regions; or the Waterfall Trail, traversing the woodland areas. All trails are considered easy in terms of difficulty level, and they leave from the Audubon Center at the Boathouse—the country's first urban Audubon Center, located at the Lincoln Road–Ocean Avenue entrance to the park. The first Boathouse was a rustic structure, built in 1876; the current Beaux Arts building replaced it in 1905. In 2002, the state-of-the-art Audubon Center was added to promote wildlife preservation and nature education. It still holds a few exhibitions, though a lot of its programs happen through the Audubon's “pop-up” program, which moves around the park. If trekking across flat land isn't challenging enough for you, take a trip to the mountains, right in Brooklyn: a steep, narrow gorge lined by trees forms the Ravine District. It features the park's most rugged terrain and high altitudes, and it was designed to be the center of an Adirondack Mountains–like arrangement, with a watercourse running through the middle. Often referred to as the heart of Prospect Park, the Ravine was restored in the late 1990s and early 2000s after years of erosion and overuse; like most of the park’s woodlands, it still requires regular maintenance.