- Prospect Park
There’s an oasis right in the middle of Brooklyn called Prospect Park. This wide-open vista provides recreation and relaxation and is family friendly. The park opened in 1895 and was designed and built by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, the team that also built Central Park. The 526-acre green space features beautiful man-made watercourses, a zoo, carousel, ice rink and numerous recreational facilities and ballparks. The park features The Long Meadow, a mile-long uninterrupted natural area, the longest of any park in the country, so there are plenty of spaces to spread out and enjoy. The north entrance also features the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch with reliefs of Ulysses S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln in a tribute to those that have served our country.
- Brooklyn Museum
Opened in 1897 and featuring over 1.5 million works of art, the Brooklyn Museum is New York City’s third largest and is one of the nation’s most respected institutions. From classical to more contemporary exhibits, the museum offers an array of collections to appeal to nearly any taste. The Egyptian art collection is considered to be one of the best in North America, presenting the culture from the Akhenaten reign through the reign of Cleopatra. The museum became one of the first institutions to exhibit African objects as art rather than artifacts and the exhibit has grown to be one of the most important collections in the country.
- New York Aquarium
The oldest continually operating aquarium in the country, the facility was opened in 1896 in Castle Garden in Battery Park, Manhattan. The aquarium moved to its permanent location in Coney Island, Brooklyn in 1957 and provides a unique venue for observing and ocean wildlife. Whether it’s the Aqua Theater with its entertaining Sea Lions, the Sea Cliffs featuring penguins, sea otters and seals with underwater viewing or just watching the sharks and colorful ocean life, there is sure to be something for everyone.
- Atlantic Avenue Tunnel
Most of the thousands of people who travel down the streets of downtown Brooklyn on a daily basis have no idea there is a 172-year-old secret right under their feet. The Atlantic Avenue tunnel was built in 1844 by Cornelius Vanderbilt as a safe way for people to avoid being hit by the trains. The 1,600-foot long, 17-foot high tunnel was intended to be one of the first underground transportation systems, but amidst greed, corruption, and murder, the project was never completed. According to an 1844 newspaper article, one of the Irish workers was told by a British contractor that he would have to miss church and work on Sundays. The Irishman responded by pulling a gun and killing the contractor and burying his body behind a wall in the tunnel. The whole project was wrought with corruption and by the 1850s the tunnel was closed off and forgotten until it was discovered in the 1980s.
- Coney Island
The list just wouldn’t be complete without including Coney Island. From the iconic roller coaster, The Cyclone, to the famous hotdogs that bear the island’s name, the popular attraction is almost synonymous with Brooklyn. Originally built as a resort destination, the attraction evolved into a theme park and eventually fell into disrepair. After years of decay, Coney Island is now experiencing a rejuvenation. The Cyclone is still attracting visitors along with local breweries, restaurants, and the quirky Coney Island Museum, appealing to a broad range of tourists and Brooklynites as well.
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